C-47 "Ride-Along"

WWIIADT

"Airborne Experience"

We are now able to offer a new "ride-along" Airborne experience. Individuals will be allowed to go "Airborne" along with jump team members on a C47 flight.  Hear and feel what it's like to ride in a WWII vintage aircraft and watch the troops dressed in WWII uniforms and equipment "Stand Up & hook Up".

To learn more about this opportunity contact us at: operations_@_wwiiadt.org


                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perry (Mac) V McGehee

 Born:                             01 February 1923                   

Enlistment date:            17 September 1940     Camp Berkeley, Texas

Deployments:                Europe

Units:                             Medical Company, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

Rank:                            T5 Sergeant

Specialisations:             Medic

Qualifications:              Chemical Warfare, Dentistry

Decorations:                  World War II Victory Medal, EAME Theater Medal with 2 Bronze Arrowheads, Presidential Unit Citation, Bronze Star.

Discharge Date:            27 September 1945

 Other Information:        Perry began his military career with the 45th Infantry Division in 1940.  Following his basic training he underwent further training with the 45th including short stays at Fort Sill and on dentistry and chemical warfare courses before finding himself in New York State, close to the Canadian border, in the winter of 1941/2.  Having been waist deep in snow on manoeuvres, he saw a poster requesting airborne volunteers to go to Fort Benning for airborne training, so thinking that the weather would be much better further south, Perry volunteered. Three days later he was on board a train bound for the “Frying Pan”!

 Perry found airborne training challenging but not too tough as he grew up a “country boy” used to long ours and hard labor on the farm and in his family’s blacksmiths. However, his training in dentistry and chemical warfare with the 45th Infantry saw him pushed into the role of Medic.  Although his training was as tough and similar to the regular infantryman, Perry was never able to persuade his officers to have him returned to a regular infantryman’s role and so saw out the war as part of the 507th PIR medical company.  Although when in combat, his role would see him attached, as part of a two man team, to a rifle company squad.

 He first saw combat when, on D-day 6th June 1944, Perry McGehee jumped into Normandy on plane numbered 43-15158 with the 305th Troop Carrier Squadron, Chalk number 1 serial 26 in the company of several high ranking officers.  He was the 13th man in his stick and it is a good job that Perry wasn’t superstitious! He landed just outside of Ste Mere Eglise near a railway line, in well over 18 feet of water. Thus began 30+ days in combat where Perry and the 507th PIR found themselves heavily engaged in fighting at the bridges over the Mederet River.

 Following their return to Nottingham, England, the 507th PIR went back into training to recover from their action and assimilate replacements. Here they were able to get some rest and relaxation and even play the occasional game of baseball or football. Because of his size, build and fitness level, Perry was able to participate for the 507th Regimental team as an End.

Because of the heavy casualties taken in Normandy, the 507th PIR was held in reserve during Operation Market Garden and returned to mainland Europe when it was needed to help plug the gaps created by the German’s Battle of the Bulge. Perry was flown to Reims, France and then carried by deuce and a half to Belgium to hold the German push. Here began many days of operating in freezing weather without proper cold weather clothing that brought back memories of those days in New York waist deep in snow.

 When the 507th PIR was withdrawn from Belgium, Perry returned to France and with the rest of the regiment, prepare for their next assignment.  They soon found out that this was to be their first daylight jump into Germany itself at Wessel on 24th March 1945. Perry found this jump very different from Normandy and with the daylight making jumping and assembly much easier, the 517th PIR soon had the enemy pushed back and their objectives of major communications centers taken at Munster and Essen.

 When the war finally came to an end, the 507th PIR was in Munster and was told to prepare for Occupation duties, but as the points system came into effect, Perry found himself with more than enough to get home early and on 27th September 1945 was discharged from the army.

 After the war, Perry returned to Oklahoma where his brother owned 80 acres of land near Tulsa. Unsure of what he wanted to do aged just 22 Perry was attracted to the oil industry where he was able to obtain employment without too much difficulty. He worked for DX-Sunray Oil Company for 39 years and celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary in May 2006. He married his wife Dorothy on 28th May 1946 in Chautauqua, Kansas where they eloped to overcome the 3 day marriage license rules of Oklahoma. He didn’t want the bureaucrats telling him that he wasn’t able to get a license for 3 days. They subsequently had 3 children and now have 8 grandchildren.  So, who said retirement would be quiet!

 

Perry and his wife Dorothy

 Perry has continued to live just outside Tulsa where, because of his love of the land and the starvation he saw during the war, he has a small plot of land where he grows fruit and vegetables. To this day, he loves to cultivate his crops or sit and enjoy the land he fought through Europe to save. He is also active in the 507th Association.