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18th Airborne Corps using social media to tell story of Battle of the Bulge

Iphone Displaying Social Media Application (Pexels/Released)

Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps will be telling the story of the Battle of the Bulge on social media beginning Monday.

The story will commemorate and coincide with the 75th anniversary of the battle and will be told through posts on the corps’ Facebook page and Twitter account. Reports will be posted at 8:30 a.m. daily through Jan 22.

The Battle of the Bulge, which occurred six months and 10 days after the Allies successfully invaded Europe on D-Day, was a German counteroffensive intended to cut through Allied forces and turn the tide of the war, according to the Army’s website.

Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a special assistant to the corps’ Public Affairs Office, is overseeing the effort. He said the stories from the Battle of the Bulge will be told from the perspectives of the corps soldiers and the Germans.

“They’re stories of valor, but they’re stories of grit,” he said. “Grit is found in the most unromantic of situations.”

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A post on the corps’ Facebook page said the commemoration will include stories that have never been told.

“These are stories of love, stories of fear, stories of courage, and stories of triumph over the most brutal conditions ever witnessed by the American soldier,” the post said.

Buccino said the stories are based on thousands of pages of military records provided by the U.S. Army Heritage Center. He said the posts will be written in a rich, story-telling style.

“What we want is for the reader to feel the fear and observe the round’s impact, to feel the cold, to get the human element of this fight,” he said.

The Facebook post describes the story of the Battle of the Bulge as “a savage tale, one that blazes with violence and barbarity.”

“For 38 days, men shriek in terror, legs are ripped off by artillery fire, soldiers are maimed by gunfire,” it said. “Some die miserable, unglamorous deaths, their bodies dropped in hastily-dug holes. Men freeze to death, bleed to death, and starve to death. Nonetheless, it is a story that must be told.”

The post said the event seeks to tell the “true story of the Battle of the Bulge.”

“It is also the story of the birth of a legendary American airborne corps, as seen through the eyes of the soldiers who brought it to life,” it said. “And, it is a story that has a particularly urgent message for this corps today.”

Buccino said elements of the 18th Airborne Corps were rushed to the site of the battle after German units broke through the American lines. The airborne units, which were in France and England, arrived in Belgium with 19 hours, he said.

“The corps’ purpose is a rapid response contingency element,” he said. “That’s exactly what this corps did.”

If the units hadn’t gotten to the battle area so quickly, the German units would have kept going, Buccino said.

“It’s important for the soldiers who are serving in the corps today to understand that legacy of rapid response,” he said.

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© 2019 The Fayetteville Observer