Ike Farm 2009

October 1, 2009 - 2 Comments

by Jim Barnes


Our intrepid correspondents, Bill and Linda Donegan travelled to the Ike Farm event at Gettysburg last week and reported on the happenings there. (We are having technical difficulties with photos. There will be several more added at a later date.) Here is the report:

IKE Farm Report

The United States Department of the Interior (National Park Service) sponsored a World War two Living History at The Eisenhower Historic Site in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania  on September 18,19 and 20, 2009.
As usual Linda and I were participants in “The Victory Society” WW2 Fashion Show.  Before, between, and after the fashion shows we moved around and “went on patrol”.  I started the day dressed as a German Gebirgsjaeger, Linda as a civilian member of the French Resistance.  We always enjoy listening to the interpretive programs as well as the veterans’ talks.
One of our favorite veterans, Sergeant Richard (Red) Falvey, spoke at the 10:00 hour on Saturday.  He was with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101 Airborne.  He participated on D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and occupied Hitler’s Eagles’ Nest in the Alps.  He recognized me from previous years and spoke with me before his presentation.  As usual he had two reenactors present, one dressed ready to jump and one dressed as a trooper who had already buried his chute and was ready for combat.  His talk was only supposed to be twenty minutes but lasted about one hour as there was a lot of Q and A following his presentation.  Linda and I were impressed by the fact that Red gave credit to the Lord Jesus Christ for getting him through the war.  We saw Red again on Sunday for the period Church Services.

Robert Hutchings who served as an aide to Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, Walter Bedell Smith told us some interesting stories that you won’t read in the history books.  He said that he noticed that General Eisenhower always had fresh milk on his breakfast table in North Africa.  He asked how this was possible, The cook told him that IKE travels around with a cow and that a soldier is assigned to take care of the cow and provide fresh milk. Can’t you just see IKE on a plane with that cow?  Another time Mr. Hutchings was asked to draw a sidearm and go to the airstrip and get a package off the plane for General Eisenhower.  The box had a padlock on it and he was sure that secret documents were inside.  He guarded the box with his life carefully taking it to General Eisenhower personally.  All the aides gathered around as someone produced a key and unlocked the box.  It contained a canned ham!

We decided to go on roving patrol and visit some of the old friends at their unit camps.  I enjoyed fooling some new friends who only recognize me in one impression, by changing uniforms regularly.  They never quite could figure out where they knew me from.

There were not many Germans in attendance this year. We got a picture of  Bill  making a phone call from the German Camp.  Konnen Sie jetzt mir horen?
We attended the USO Dance Saturday night at the Army Reserve Center. A Big Band performed 1940s swing music and Linda wore me out on the dance floor. I forgot to take my camera in to the dance.

We missed the next day’s speakers as we had to attend a dress rehearsal for the fashion show, and I had to change clothes.  I had not intended to present as FDR, but when I donned my 1940’s civilian attire I was asked by the US troops if I was going to send them on another mission.  I told them to be ready at a moment’s notice, that I could not tell them anything specific.  They asked me if I was going to a meeting with General Eisenhower.  I affirmed that I was. I was offered a ride in an army command car, which I declined. Everywhere I went people thought I was Roosevelt so I played along with it.  We presented three fashion shows Sunday.
One funny incident occurred Saturday after I had seen Bill Burris of the US 28th ID.  I was dressed in German Gebirgjager uniform and he recognized me from Dennison Ohio last year.  He asked where Linda was. He had his command car there and wanted to give us a ride in it.  I told him I’d find her. Not able to find Linda quickly I changed into my German Chaplains uniform.  I located Linda at the 82nd AB camp.  We went to the 28ID Camp and Bill did not know who I was since I had changed uniforms.
Here is Bill dressed as German:

On Sunday, dressed as FDR, I was sitting with David Coe, a Scotsgrey Chaplain, having lunch. Don Taylor arrived and sat at our table.  I introduced him to Dave Coe.  Don looked at me strangely knowing that he knew me but couldn’t recall how he knew me (We had talked extensively just the day before, but again I had been in German uniform).  Funny how a change of clothes affects how one is viewed.

On day one we ran into Lt. Chris Hershey who had just bought a new staff car.  He tried to give us a ride but we were late for the first speaker so declined the offer.  We will include a  photo of his new car:

Comments (2)

Helmut Thiel

October 4th, 2009 at 10:33 am    

Hallo Hellmut!
I remember a few folks thinking you resembled Roosevelt when we were at Rowlesburg as well. Why not go with it.

Compliments to you Bill. You can pull off any impression with ease and I enjoy reading your extremely well written articles as well.

Keep up the good work and keep posting.
Mike/Helmut Thiel

Bill Donegan

October 23rd, 2009 at 7:57 am    


Danke Helmut,


PS Will try to morph into VS on Sunday at Cumberland as we pass through coming back from Strassburg.

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