Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dunn invites pres to join in celebrating "the Father of the Airborne"

The town of Dunn has invited President G. Walker Bush to join the annual festivities honoring Dunn native General William C. Lee who led the formation of American airborne units in World War II. Someone who will attend is another NC soldier, General Hugh Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The US military tabbed Lee to create a quick strike unit capable of matching the airborne skill of its German adversary. Lee oversaw the development of paratrooper training at Ft. Benning, Ga. and became the first commander of the 101st Airborne Division. He was responsible for moving its command to Ft. Bragg. He missed leading the 101st in the Normandy invasion due to a heart attack that sent him back to NC. His paratroopers dropped shouting "Bill Lee."

The Lee celebration began in 1986 with the opening of Dunn's General Lee Museum. This year's celebration will be held June 6-10. The White House says it will confirm showing or not showing about 10 days before the event.

BTW: Lee and Shelton are both NC State alums.

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