Green River Star -

By Lexi Mitchell

Family history fuels passion


Denny Pace’s family history created a lifelong passion in World War II reenactment.

Pace, a Green River resident, recalls watching war documentaries with his dad, Presley Pace, while growing up. He remembers slowly beginning to enjoy them more after he learned about his own family’s connection to the war.

Pace mainly studies the method of the Army’s 182 Airborne Division, having researched the daily life and routine of soldiers for the past 20 years. His grandfather, David Pace, served in the Navy during World War II. His great-uncle was drafted to serve in February of 1943, serving in the Army’s 131 Airborne Division during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. His great-uncle was killed in action June 11, 1943, just five days after they stormed the shores of Normandy.

“I just never expected it to go this far,” Pace said.

Pace is part of the Sixth Infantry Division reenactment group from Cheyenne. The division hosts shows at the end of every July at Warren Air Force Base. Thursday, Pace was at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum on the 75th anniversary of D-Day invasion to share his knowledge of the battle and solders’ equipment.

He enjoys passing along information to anyone interested in history.

“I am kind of a history nerd,” Pace said.

For the past 15 years, he has collected from antique stores, online markets, others involved in historical reenactment and gun shows to build a complete army uniform and pack, even down to replicas of the cigarettes given in the rations.

“Coffee and cigarettes were the two most important items to the soldiers,” Pace said.

Pace has acquired a reproduction uniform that would have been almost the same as his great-uncle’s.

Pace said the most interesting aspect about his research is finding out more about his family. He was able to look through old family records and national databases to compile more information about his great-uncle.

“He jumped into Normandy without knowing what was ahead of him. In a way, that is very thrilling,” Pace said.

He even discovered exactly how he died.

Pace said being part of the reenactment group is 90 percent research and 10 percent gathering equipment. His first reenactment was for an Indian wars group. Afterward, he sarcastically mentioned how he wished it was World War II. Roy, the Sargent of the regiment, laughed and told him about the Sixth Infantry Division and he has been with the group ever since.

The infantry are a close group that share and help each other learn more about the methods and lives of those who lived the war. He looks forward to the reenactments each year, seeing himself participating in the event for a long time.


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