LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Good day GOYA Family!
Welcome to the 551st Parachute Infantry Association. After losing my father a year ago, I was inspired to reactivate the association that was originally established in November 1984. We are now a non-profit 501(c)3 association of veterans of the 551st, as well as many family and friends. Our membership is increasing every day and we now have over 100 members. We’ve established a board of directors whose vision is to make sure the history of the 551st is remembered and celebrated.
In October 2018, we had our first 551st reunion at Fort Benning, Georgia. We witnessed qualifying jumps by men and women and then attended their graduation from Airborne School—all from the same grounds on which the men of the 551st jumped and graduated so long ago. The families who attended embraced each other like long lost family; although many were meeting for the first time, all had the GOYA bond. Stories were told, memories were shared, and tears were shed. The veterans feared after their time on Earth this organization would end but that is not how their story will play out. We, the family and friends of GOYA, are re-invigorated to keep the 551st alive!
At our first board meeting, we decided to institute membership dues (see membership notice in this newsletter) to cover recurring expenses such as tax filings, postage, website domain, wreaths for memorials, and most importantly memorial maintenance, etc. This was agreed upon at our general membership meeting.
Please enjoy the website. We are committed to sharing the history and updates on the brave men of the 551st. Soon you will be able to purchase an updated version of Dan Morgan’s book The Left Corner of My Heart. We wanted to include pictures of veterans who were not included in the previous prints. Please check back and an announcement will be made as soon as soon as the book is available. It will be sold exclusively through our association.
As you can see, we are truly up and running and look forward to more reunions with our members. Please consider joining us in celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Operation Dragoon in Southern France August 2019 and the 75th Anniversary of the 551st participation in the Battle of the Bulge in January 2020. Details are listed on our homepage.
Let’s keep this history of the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion alive!
Cheryl Dillard Staurulakis – President
Daughter of Col Douglas C. Dillard, A Company