September 6, 2014 - No Comments
by Jim Barnes
The following is part of a group of reports that are regretably late due to several months of intermittent illness and other projects which demanded my attention. Anyway, here goes:
On the first week of June, we made our annual trip to the Reading Airshow. The 193rd was once again as far back in the corner as we could be placed. The tents of the GI chaplin’s group pretty much hid our camp completely from the view of all spectators with the exception of those who ventured all the way to the end of the vendor row or the folks who wanted to give the shooting range a go. Nonetheless, we still managed to have decent crowds.
Having attended nearly all the Readings over the past 12 years, there isn’t a lot that I haven’t seen before. It is nice then to see participants who have come up with a new wrinkle or a period impression that no one has done before. I was particularly pleased to meet a couple of young guys from Taiwan who sported very nice Nationalist Chinese impressions. The Chinese were fighting the Japanese long before anyone else was at war, so this is an important and long neglected impression in this country. Good job, guys!
There are two other reasons that I attend. One is shopping. There are always a large selection of vendors selling various kinds of militaria and military-related items. I didn”t spend much this year and was more interested in getting Linda kitted out. The other thing is the opportunity to visit with old friends. Having been in the hobby as long as I have, there are usually people whom I know in every camp. Since I don’t get to see many of them more than once or twice a year, this is perhaps the biggest reason that I keep coming back.
Many of my old cronies, are of course in my own unit, the 193rd Rifle Division. This year, Yuri Drukarov, came up with a series of programs that enlivened the camp including bayonet drill and Soviet hand to hand combat training all with the proper safety precautions, of course. . The young guys really got into the competitive aspect of this and provided a good show for the onlookers.
We enjoyed the event this year but I don’t know how many more we will attend. Dealing with all the rules and regulations as well as the vagaries of the Reading weather constitute a serious downside, especially given the distance we have to drive. I think it will be a year-to-year thing from here on out. We’ll see.