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The Polar Bear Association will have its reunion at Branson, MO, from September 24 to Septermber 27. The Polar Bear Association is an organization of veterans of the 339th Infantry Regiment of the 85th "Custer" Division. This organization includes other associated units: Company C of 310th Combat Engineer Battalion, Company C of 310th Medical Battalion, 910th Field Artillery Battalion, Cannon Company and Anti-Tank Company.

Events planned for the reunion inlcude the sites of Branson: Pierce Arrow Show, Veteran Memorial Museum, Showboat BRanson Belle Dinner Cruise and lunch and a banquet dinner.

This will probably be the last national reunion of this organization.

The deadline for signup is August 24th.

Registration on line at with code 60005.



Associate Member of Polar Bears

I wanted to bump this thread up and report on my trip. I've packed my car with files, reference books, some samples of uniforms and hats---and maps, maps, maps. I have to put in a few hours at work before heading out to Branson.

I will also take my daughter's laptop and the printer/scanner that came with it (but she never uses it). I may take Marion's advise about the recording software but I don't have a microphone for my 'puter. I plan to use the computer to display my website and as a slide show of all the photos I've accumulated and to show other DVD's, such as "The Last Renuion", about the 337th Regiment's reunion in 2004. I also take my CD player with computer speakers to play Glenn Miller music. I've packed everything because I'm driving this year not flying.


If the hotel has wireless internet, then I might be able to post some topics each day.



Note: Your laptop should have a built in mike. Most do!

Oh! I'm not a fan of laptops. I planned to search my desk at work for one of those plug-in Mics. I thought it would let me get closer to the speark and cover the background noise.


Let me know how your interviews come out---technically speaking.



BYW, Here is a link to the "official" website of the Polar Bears and an unofficial history of the 85th Division.


Both are compiled by the Historian of the Association, John Heiser. He has completed a detailed history of the 339th Infantry Regiment and is finalizing the draft before going into publication. If you want to know anything about the 339th, John will know.

John is my age and I can't wait to visit with him at the Reunion. We sit for hours interrogating each other about various details of the 85th Division.


Hmm. I just noticed an interesting trivia about the Association.

"The first real meeting of the formal association was held in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1956 with about 50 in attendance. "

The reunion in 2002 was also held in Gulfport inconjunction with the dedication of the monument to the 85th Division at Camp Shelby.




Monument erected at Camp Shelby, 2002

Steve pointing to his Dad's unit on reverse side.

(I'm sporting my home-made cap I wear to reunions.)






This must be so exciting for you. I know how much fun I had this weekend. It was one of the best weekends of the year for me.


Oh my recording program did great and it was just sitting in the middle of the table. I was quite pleased with the output. B)


Good luck and have a ball. Oh I am going to another reunion on Thursday, just for the day. The 326th Engineers invited me out to theirs. For those who don't know, they were part of the 101st Airborne.

I added the links to the website today. Thank you.

Sorry that I have not "checked in" during the reunion. We are all dressed up in suite and ties, awaiting the Banquet for the final night. I've been to several of these reunions but never to their Banquet. This will be fun.


We are getting our group photos taken. I'm trying to estimate the size of the attendance by the Veterans but....I'm not sure. They report 35 "active" Veterans. More than 100 Total with wives and family were in attendance.

Since the last reunion in 2006, they have lost 38 members---some were not active in reunions. Also, the President elected at that time became ill and has passed away and so did the Treasurer.


The weather has been great and this is a good place to have reunions. The hotels and conventions really work to help out. There are 4 reunions going on here in THIS hotel---some Navy and on Korean bomb group.


Time to get my group photo taken.



One interesting veteran who attends each of the Polar Bear reunions is Tom ___, a Navy veteran. What? Navy?

Well, when the 85th Division began to organize and train at Camp Shelby, MS, in 1942, Tom was a young boy of 12 or so. He lived very close to the base and he would go to the camp almost every day. He would work around the camp and the soldiers would pay him to do odd jobs. He even worked in the canteen serving beer during the down time. The 339th Regiment adopted Tom kinda as their mascot. They got to know him. After all these years, he remembered their kindness and returns to make new friends at the reunion----as most of the young soldiers he met in 1942 did not survive the war.


Another bit of info on the Polar Bear Association. I think the association was formed after WW1 but eventually disbanded. This 2006 reunion marks their 50th reunion since the WW2 veterans re-formed and began scheduling reunions.

The next reunion will be this time in 2008 at Gettysburg, PA.





Attached is a group photo of the Polar Bears. I didn't know if you wanted to post it to your the thread on your forum. I tried to edit the lighting and reduce it to make it manageable. I'll let you post it as you see fit.