Douglas C. Dillard (Col. Ret.)
82nd Airborne Division
As we clear the snow away and prepare for the belated Spring, all thoughts turn to the anticipated European Trip to Belgium and Luxembourg. Planning continues with both John Bowen and I attempting to put the pieces together. John and I met with the new Belgian Ambassador on 17 March to apprise him of the VBOB plan to visit Belgium and Luxembourg in December. We presented to him and the Assistant Attache, also present, a copy of a proposed itinerary that included a request for air and land transportation to be furnished by the Belgian Government, as well as a request that the King meet the veterans at some point in the tour. Assistance from the Government of Luxembourg was requested at an earlier meeting. We have requested a second meeting with the Luxembourg Deputy to the Ambassador that is to be scheduled. Although the itinerary has not been finalized, we know the Attache’s office, with the blessing of the Ambassador, is communicating directly with the King’s General regarding our plans and requests. It seems the King’s General has taken on the direct responsibility for such coordination. In Belgium a task force was formed by members of the Belgian Government, The US Ambassador’s staff, a writer for the Stars and Stripes and associated Belgian and Luxembourg officials and volunteers to aid in our tour efforts. Coordination has already been made with the villages and towns that are on the itinerary. As soon as the plan is finalized, we will provide details to the membership. (Go to page 26 of the May 2014 “Bulge Bugle” for additional information.)
Another subject of interest, of course, is the annual reunion in Columbia, S.C. in August-September. Details are in the May 2014 issue of The Bulge Bugle, starting on page 16. Also of interest is the Battle of the Bulge Historical Foundation’s plan to sponsor an event at Fort Meade in May, date not confirmed as yet. This event will include a visit to the VBOB Museum and a wreath ceremony at the Memorial. The Belgian Luxembourg Ambassadors will be invited. Details of this event are in the process of development.
Best regards to all,