A message from: David Williams
First President, Sons & Daughters of WWII Rangers
Sons & Daughters of the WWII Rangers
This is a brief recap of how I became personally challenged to organize this group. There are too many names to mention in a half page, but I had help from several people during the organizational period. In 1967, when I was on active duty, Jane Ellen and I visited my uncle Jim Lyle and his wife Corky, and he shared a lot of his ranger experiences. Colonel James B. Lyle retired with 30 years service in 1965, and Corky said it was the first time he had talked to anyone about some of the things he did as a Ranger in World War II. Jim, as I always called him even when I was a kid, died in 1992 and left me his medals, his Sykes knife and a brief case full of papers. As a LTC, Jim was inducted into the first class of the Infantry OCS Hall of Fame in 1959. After his death I wanted to see if there were other officers alive who remembered Jim, so I attended the RBA meeting in Kissimmee, FL in 1997, where Bing Evans took me under his wing. To learn more, I attended the next RBA reunion at Fort Benning in 1999. During the RBA business meeting Bing came out to find me and told me that he was being pressured to be President. He said that if I would agree to handle the next reunion he'd take the job. I agreed, and he led me into the RBA meeting room and said, Dave, tell the guys what you plan to do. That's how it started. Some Rangers liked what was about to happen; most had no idea what was going on.
That afternoon at the hotel I printed up spreadsheets and put them at each place setting at the Saturday night banquet. During dinner Bing Evans asked everyone to fill out names and addresses of family members, and by the end of the evening we had about 200 names. Over the next two years I searched out and located another 300. With this base of unofficial Sons & Daughters we had family members ready to help organize and manage the 2001 RBA reunion in New Orleans.
The first day of the reunion was September 11, 2001 - otherwise known as "9/11" - so it was a rocky beginning. All planes were grounded and we had Rangers and family members strung out all over the United States. That evening we began phoning Rangers and their relatives and by 10:30 that night we believed that we could expect to have at least half the number we planned for, even though we were unable to reach many. When I took Bing the results of our phone survey, his decision was, We go. It's too late to stop it. The next morning I renegotiated the agreements the RBA had with the hotel and others, and by Friday we had about 60 percent of the people we had planned for.
At the 2001 RBA business meeting on Friday I proposed an organization and mission for the S&D which stated that the S&D would continue to assist and honor the WW II Rangers, even after the last one was gone. Bing put it to a vote and there was only one dissenting vote. The Rangers wholly endorsed the plan and were appreciative of our efforts.
The S&D had its first business meeting the next day. We discussed our mission and what we were supposed to be about. Not everyone present was of the same mind about our mission and how we were being organized. The S&D has survived for twelve years but with a much smaller core group than originally hoped for and with much of the mission still remaining to be accomplished. Will the Decendants of World War II Rangers continue to function and thus continue the mission - after the last Ranger is gone? It's a question only the members can answer, but I urge you to join the organization, get involved, and participate to honor these heroes from World War II who have well-served our nation during its time of need!
S&D President 2001 - 2003
The Sons & Daughters Organization consolidated with the RBA in October, 2011, to form the new organization: THE DESCENDANTS OF WWII RANGERS, Inc.
Please click here to join the Descendants of WWII Rangers, Inc.