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LSUA Presents 101st Airborne Symposium

Released: 10/05/2009

A symposium on the historic 101st Airborne Division – created in the summer of 1942 at Camp Claiborne in Rapides Parish – will be held Friday at 6 p.m. at the Alexandria Museum of Art. The event, which is sponsored by the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at LSU Alexandria, is free and open to the public.

Featured speakers and panel discussion participants include Dr. Richard Chardkoff, professor of history at the University of Louisiana-Monroe; Dr. Charles Clark, instructor of history at the University of Alabama; Bobbie Washburn, a WACS veteran and Central Louisiana native during World War II; and Jim Livaudais, an 82nd Airborne Division veteran who will relate the events leading from Camp Claiborne to Berlin. The third annual symposium is titled “The Homefront and Beyond: A Rendezvous with Destiny.”

“Anyone with an interest in homegrown military history and World War II is encouraged to attend and learn about the local origin of the famous airborne divisions,” said Dr. Chris Stacey, LSUA assistant professor of history and symposium coordinator. “There will be opportunities for questions during the event and at the reception afterward.”

The 82nd Airborne Division was activated on Aug. 15, 1942, and a day later approximately half of its troops were funneled to the new 101st Airborne. Each division, whose paratroopers were involved in some of the fiercest and most pivotal fighting in the war, contained about 14,000 soldiers at their peak. Nearly 2,000 members of the 82nd Airborne were killed, and more than 6,000 were wounded in Europe.

Material will be available from the Louisiana State Museum, Historic New Orleans Collection, Louisiana Military Maneuvers Museum, National World War II Museum, Airborne and Special Operations Museum, and Chennault Aviation and Military Museum.