The  Official Electronic Newsletter of the Veterans and Descendants of the
U.S. 17th Airborne Division, WWII 
The missions of the "Scions of the 17th Airborne" are to honor the service of all veterans of the 17th, and to educate others about the history and sacrifices made by the troopers who served in this division during WW II.

We strive to accomplish these missions by holding regional gatherings where troopers and their families can gather, and by sharing their recollections.  We communicate with our membership using this "Thunder From Heaven" newsletter, through our website and on our Facebook page. In addition we collect documents related to the history of the 17th and make them available to our membership.
Issue # 32 - July 2015
Please send us your 17th related news items, stories, questions etc., so that we can share them with the entire group. You may direct your mail to the Scions at:
Adam Coolong & Ed Siergiej Jr.- Editors
Visit our Facebook page at:

17th Airborne Division Scions (Descendants)

Post your 17th related photos, stories and questions.
In This Newsletter

-  Trooper Stories - Bruce Waldo (513/HQ1)

  Scions Gatherings in Lancaster PA and Wheeling, WV

-   Scions Launch Directory Project

-   Scions Committees
     by Michele Smith

-   Scions 2015 Gathering Schedules

       - Arlington, VA Veterans Day Ceremonies - November 2015  
       -  Lancaster, PA -  2016

-   Scions Memorial Fund
     by Ed Siergiej Jr.

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Information on Membership and Dues

-   Chaplain's Corner
-   Minutes of Annual Meeting

Thunder Mail Call by Bill Tom

- Letters From Home and Abroad

-  Sick Call


-  17th Airborne Online Store

-   Become a Member of the Scions of the 17th Airborne
 Trooper Stories
Each month "Thunder From Heaven" features a story about a 17th trooper in his own words, or as told to a family member or friend. We encourage those who would like to submit an article to send them in to us at:

 Bruce Waldo (513/HQ1)

The following is taken from an extensive interview of Bruce Waldo, provided by his wife Nancy. Bruce's obituary can be found in our TAPS section, below


Bruce immediately enlisted following his high school graduation, but had to wait until July 10 to report in Michigan.  He was assigned to the paratroops in Fort Benning, GA.  He’d never been in an airplane.  In Fort Benning, he had six weeks of marching and physical training.
 The parachute drop ride at the 1939 World’s Fair had been moved to Fort Benning and used for parachute training.  Bruce also made many jumps from an airplane parked on the ground.  He had four weeks in jump school and completed the training with five live jumps.  During the first jump, a friend was so afraid that he could not make the jump and hung onto a solid bar to stay in the plane. Bruce stood in the doorway with his toes and hands outside the door.  When the light changed from red to green, he jumped out. 
He made 12 training jumps, one at night.  Earning his Wings was a proud achievement.  It meant he could wear shiny jump boots.  The paratroopers were admired and respected because of their Wings. Bruce was embarrassed by this attention.
 Bruce met Vernon Cumberland and Horace Cathy in July, 1943 and the three of them were later to share intense war experiences together.
 Bruce then went to Ft Bragg with the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  They went to Tennessee on maneuvers and joined the 17th Airborne at Ft McCall.
GOING TO EUROPE - On August 20, 1944, they left from Ft Myles Standish on a solo ship and were escorted by US planes for a portion of the trip. After sailing through a span of open sea without air or sea escort, they were escorted by British Royal Air Force planes to England. 
On August 28, they arrived in England and were stationed about 40 miles south of London.  He made 3-4 jumps in England.  One exercise required study of a large sand table complete with power lines, houses and items made to scale.
In December 1944, shortly before Christmas, his company was moved into France and marched toward Bastogne to participate in the Battle of the Bulge.  On December 25, 1944, his Christmas dinner consisted of a can of C- rations.
IN BATTLE On January 2nd, they moved to the front.  There were trees across the road and dead Germans lying along the road, their bodies frozen. He had to dig a foxhole in the snow and frozen dirt, and found that he could dig faster when the shelling started.  They had K-rations for dinner.  “Hot” food was delivered the next day.  It was cold and partially frozen.
 They had walked into the battle area.  They were at the edge of some woods next to a field with a creek at the other end.  Bruce was part of a six-man machine gun crew.
They were ordered to advance under gunfire. Bruce thought they were doing very well as they advanced through the field and took prisoners but his tent partner was shot in the leg during the advance. They were ordered to stop, and Bruce got into a foxhole with his Sergeant.  A Lieutenant came to the foxhole and asked if either could call in artillery fire, but neither had been trained to do it.
 The Lieutenant told Bruce to leave with him while his Sergeant stayed in the foxhole. Bruce observed that they were moving in the direction they had started from and when shelling resumed he told the Lt. that he was going back to the foxhole to be with his Sergeant. 
Bruce returned to the foxhole and shells hit the ground and propelled frozen dirt into his face.  Bruce tried to retrieve a heavy coat that was outside the foxhole and a shell hit his helmet.  The helmet had a huge dent it. The helmet saved Bruce’s life.
Bruce and his company were without overshoes and winter underwear. They wore the same coats into battle that they wore when they were on leave in London. The Germans were very well clothed for the extreme winter weather. They wore heavy white coats and trousers which made them hard to see in the snow.
CAPTURED BY THE GERMANS The Germans came up from behind them and surrounded them.  Some Germans came out of the woods with a white flag and requested a meeting with Bruce’s commanding officers.  Bruce and over one hundred American GIs were surrendered to the Germans. Many were reluctant to surrender and wanted to continue fighting but all became POWs.
The Germans took food, water and wallets from the Americans.  They were interrogated one at a time in a big room in a house.  There were three German officers along with some guards.  Bruce did not answer their questions.  He provided only his rank and serial number.  When he was escorted from the room, he thought he was going to be shot, but they took him to a barn where the others who had been interrogated had been retained. 
They were placed in trucks and traveled for one day.  Then they were marched to a train station and loaded into railroad boxcars, 50 prisoners per car.  They traveled for a while, then stopped and just waited inside the cars while German war supply trains moved toward the front.
 There was no water and they had to eat snow.  The boxcar had a window near the ceiling with wire over it.  They could reach through the wire and get snow.  There was a hole in the floorboard that served as the latrine.  It was very disgusting.
 Once they stopped for bread and Bruce was one of the two men who got out of the car to get the bread.  They were supposed to get one loaf for each of the 50 men, but they were given only 49 loaves.  Bruce begged for one more loaf, but the guards would not give it to him.  Each of the 49 men gave one man a slice of his bread.  So that man got 49 slices, more than anyone else.
 Another time they were given a loaf of bread and a can of cheese, in a can similar to today’s tuna can.  They were told it was a five-day supply of food.  Some of the men immediately ate all of their cheese. The POWs were not given additional food for six days.
The train trip was made miserable by hunger, thirst, extreme cold weather, crowding, and lack of sanitation.
 Bruce was friends with Sergeant Weeks and Bobby Burke. At one point, Bobby asked Bruce to sit on his feet to warm them, but Bruce was too skinny to do any good.  Bobby died of starvation in the POW camp.
 Bruce and Sergeant Weeks pulled a sled during the march to the camp and a German boy came out and gave them pieces of bread. Sgt Weeks was newly wed before the war. He also died in the camp. 
STALAG 4B Twenty-four days later, they arrived at the prison camp and were allowed to shower.  Bruce said they all looked like skeletons and they all had lice.  Their armpits were white with lice. 
Stalag 4B was located at Muhlberg, near Leipzig.  It was the largest Infantry POW camp, housing British and Russians.  The Russians were in an area by themselves and were treated harshly – worse than the other prisoners.  There were some French in the camp.
Bruce was a POW for 100 days.  The Brits acted out a play for entertainment one day which was the only fun the whole time he was there.
Bruce was hungry the entire time that he was a prisoner. 
 Paul Haney, a British POW, gave Bruce a small Bible with a good luck message in it when he heard that Bruce was planning to escape.  Bruce still has the Bible.
ESCAPE TO FREEDOM - On April 11, 1945 many POWs, including Tom Lackey, Vernon Cumberland, and Horace Cathy were assigned to a work detail to go to Leipzig.  Tom did not want to go because he felt the camp would soon be liberated.  Bruce wanted to go so Tom and Bruce swapped names and Bruce went as Tom and Tom stayed in camp as Bruce.  The detail arrived in Leipzig for clean-up duty.
On April 12th, the detail was turned around to return to the POW camp.  They were marched in columns of three with a small number of German guards.  Bruce, Horace, and Vernon broke from the column and ran several yards into the woods.  A guard shot at them and missed, and they scattered into the woods.  They knew the guards would not chase them because the other POWs would be unguarded.  Bruce said that this was the happiest day of his life when he regained the feeling of freedom.
Bruce, Horace, and Vernon waited in the woods for the Americans to arrive. They met two Italians in the woods and later three Germans tried to surrender to them while they were waiting. The American troops finally arrived in the woods late in the afternoon on April 14th, 1945. A GI in a Jeep gave them K rations and a ride to their unit’s headquarters.
Stalag 4B was liberated by the Russians and Tom Lackey was freed in late April. There was a sign on the door to their shed that read, “Do not leave after dark”.  Tom Lackey took the sign when the Russians liberated the camp.  His widow still has the sign in Oklahoma.
HOMEWARD BOUND - Bruce, Vernon, and Horace were deloused, cleaned up and their clothes burned. They then flew to Hamburg to board a train for France via Paris. They arrived in Camp Lucky Strike, France and boarded a ship for the USA. Their ship was part of a convoy of 25-30 other ships.
The crossing took 13 days during which they all celebrated the surrender of Nazi Germany on VE Day- May 8, 1945. The following day, Bruce celebrated his 20th birthday!
 Bruce received a Purple Heart for frozen feet.
Scions Gathering in Lancaster, PA

by Michele Smith

Thanks to all who attended the 2015 Lancaster Reunion and for those of you who couldn't make it, we missed you! This year we had about 60 attendees and we want to especially thank Jos and Maria Bex who traveled here again, all the way from the Netherlands! They also traveled post reunion to California for a visit with 17th Trooper Bill Tom where they placed a wreath at the gravesite of Medal of Honor Stuart Stryker, a picture of which was in last month's newsletter.

We were fortunate to start off the week with a visit from Matthew Carroll and friends who are with the 9th Division Historical Preservation Society and had a display of WWII memorabilia in our Hospitality Room for all to enjoy. You can visit their website at to view.

Monday we kicked off our Reunion with an opening prayer and Pledge of allegiance, recognizing our 8 17th Vets in attendance - Mike Rock, Joe Quade George Hudicka, Ben Nothsteine, Rev. Bill Keeler, Ed Jefferson, and Charles Davis, Jean Klick, Gold Star wives Betty Heigl, Nan Lauria, Roberta McCoy, and new attendees Thomas Gogal, Bob Heigl, Debbie Heigl, Scott Roelker, John Ogden, Patty Bowers Mom Jean Miller, & David Shortt.

We were later visited by the local news station and our adopted reporter Meredith Jorgensen, who we were so glad to welcome back! That evening we had our sing-a-long with Glenn Hough at the keyboard, (though we certainly missed Verna Dean Greenwald who couldn't make it this year) accompanied by the Epps Family and their beautiful singing voices.

On Tuesday, new Scion member David Shortt (nephew of Ken Hortt 139 H&S) along with 17th Trooper Charles Davis 517 SG gave a fabulous presentation of 17th memorabilia with a display from their Veterans Memorial Museum 123 S. Main St. Germantown, Ohio 45327.Their museum, as their brochure indicates, is a not for profit dedicated to preserving the honor and sacrifice of our Armed Forces Veterans, through the preservation of oral and written histories and personal artifacts. The museum covers all areas of veteran service from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terrorism and contains thousands of personal items including letters, photos, documents, insignia, maps, uniforms etc. It is well worth the trip to visit their museum if you plan to be in that area and I am sure they would welcome you to contact them for further information. Their number is 937-855-4763 and
That night was open for socializing and one of the highlights was this; Adam Coolong as you all know, is responsible for assisting Ed Siergiej with editing and issuing our Newsletter. What you may not know yet is he also has a BEAUTIFUL voice and is a member of a world traveling Irish band called "The Wild Colonial Boys" (they have 5 CD's check out their website). Anyway, he sang my Dad's favorite "Danny Boy" and my favorite " Wild Rover". What a treat that was! Later we played Military Bingo called by Isaac. 
On Wednesday we had our beautiful Memorial Service officiated by Rev. Bill Keeler and our Chaplain Isaac Epps where we pay homage to all our Troopers who have gone home to Heaven. This is always such a special day for us and one which I think we all carry in our hearts all year through. Matthew Kormann brought his Mom Elsa Kormann to join us at the service, for which we were so grateful. After the service the Scions conducted their Annual meeting.Later that evening, President Rose Friday gave a beautiful tribute to our dear friend and Scion founder Col John Kormann. Isaac Epps gave a beautiful tribute to my dad Bill Smith who we lost last July 2014.Jos Bex created and presented certificates with an original stamp of General Miley, which was a special wish of Col. John Kormann, to the 17th Troopers and Executive Board.
Thursday we had a bus trip to Carlisle Army heritage and Education Center with an escorted tour of the museum, the WWII barracks, and research library with special interest for the 17th made available. That night we had a lot of laughs with Joe Quade's Scion Horseracing event.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye 'til next time. As always the Steamboat staff treated us so kindly. Plans are in the works for next year's reunion, details forthcoming shortly. 
Rose Friday poses with Charles Davis (517/SG)
17th Veteran George Hudica (155th) with Scion Isaac Epps
L to R:  Ben Nostine, Joe Quade, Mathew Korman, Elsa Korman, Jean Klick, Mike Rock, Rev William Keeler, and Ed Jefferson at the memorial service.
17th Veterans Ed Jefferson, Joe Quade, Charles Davis, Ben Nostine, and Mike Rock pose for Rose Fridays camera at the Steamboat Inn.
Operation Varsity Gathering in Wheeling, WV
Betty Rae and Nancy Lauria host a great "Operation Varstiy" gathering in Wheeling, WV each year. Trooper Ed Good and his wife Justine and Trooper Gene Herman and his wife were joined by members of Ed and Justines family as well as Roland Lane and his wife. 
Scions Launch Directory Project
by Ed Siergiej Jr.

Many Scions members have asked for some way to identify what members we have in each state.  To that end, we will be creating a directory of our membership list. This will be of great help in organizing regional gatherings of the Scions, and connecting us to one another. The directory will be sorted by state as well as by unit of the 17th, which will help those seeking contacts in a particular Regiment or Company. As our membership expands, this will be an important tool. Our concern for your privacy is paramount, and we will never disclose your contact information without your approval first. 

One challenge we face is that our membership increases each week, if not each day, and any printed list would be out of date before it is issued. The most practical solution is to locate the list in a password-protected section of our website, www.17thscions.orgaccessible only to members.

This posting is "Step 1" in the process. We have also sent out a mass email to our membership as well, and the responses are coming in. 
If you would like to have your name and address included in the Directory, please send us an email with the following information to:

Address ___________________________________________
Email address ______________________________________
17th Veteran you represent  ___________________________
Phone # ____________________________________________

Occupation or Talent ____________________________

If you do not want to include your phone or email, please indicate. 

If you DO NOT want to be included in the directory please let us know and we will not pester you about it further.

If you would like to help us with this project, please let us know as well. As our membership expands, we can use lots of help to make projects like this happen in a timely manner.

Scions Committees
By Michele Smith (Vice President)

As the Scion organization has grown we have recognized the need to continue to make organizational changes to support our growth. We have developed the structure below to define the different areas where our members can become involved. Ideally we would like to have a Chairperson and at least 2 members to assist.  If you are interested in being a committee chairperson or member please advise by sending us an email to :

Scions Donna "Cooper" Meise and Fred Nothstine, have already volunteered to lead our marketing team and are hard at work with ideas. Cooper has designed a new T-shirt to be advertised in the Newsletter and on our website. 

The Veterans Outreach Committee includes two primary responsibilities. Chaplain duties, and Veteran Support.

Chaplains - Our Chaplan, Isaac Epps, reaches out to our veterans and the families of our veterans in times of need. When a veteran passes the Chaplain consults our geographic list of members and attempts to locate a member who can attend the funeral. Isaac would like to a few additional Scions to help out when he is unavailable. Currently, Sec/Tres Ed Siergiej and President Rose Friday act as backup for Isaac. 
Scion Dusty Cornelius has expressed an interest in assisting Isaac with chaplain duties, but we would like to identify at least one more person as well.

Veteran Support - Currently our Chaplain Isaac Epps and Michele Smith work send out sympathy cards and get well cards to veterans and wives. The cards were developed by Michele based on input from Trooper Norvel "Luke" Lucas and Col. John Kormann. 

The role of this committee is to assist the Treasurer in managing and monitoring the organizations finances. Typically chaired by the Treasurer, it provides an opportunity for discussion and consideration of financial matters with regular reporting to the Board of Directors. 

The primary role of this committee is to coordinate arrangements for the placement of wreaths at the graves of our 4 Medal of honor recipients (3 in the US and 1 in the Netherlands) each year on Memorial Day. We have individuals who have stepped up each year to do this job, but the committee would confirm that they take on this task again. In addition the committee may recommend and coordinate the laying of wreaths at other locations, such as the 17th Memorial in Arlington. Scions Jerry and Pat O'Brien have volunteered to serve on this committee. Jerry and Pat have taken on the role of placing the wreath at the grave of Medal of Honor recipient Isadore Jachman and are working to contact the remaining family about our interest in honoring him. 

The role of this committee is to nominate candidates for office within the organization and examine the skills and characteristics that are needed in Board candidates representing the best interests of the membership. Available candidates either nominated or written in are then voted into office at our annual meeting. 

This committee is in charge of all activities designed to increase membership in our organization. As my Dad Bill Smith always encouraged, "Get the youth involved, they are our future leaders and will carry on the torch of our mission".
 One project that we would like to take on is the publishing of an article about the Scions in Military related magazines, such as WWII magazine and the American Legion Magazine.

Help us to honor our 17th Airborne veterans and keep the history of the 17th alive by pitching in to make the Scions organization better.
 Do You Know of a Veteran Who Does Not Use Email?
Each month this newsletter, "Thunder From Heaven" goes out to over 600 members of the 17th Airborne family.  We know that some of our veterans no longer use, or have never used email.  Scion Kerri Whitaker, granddaughter of Richard L. Wise (194/C), has volunteered to send hard copies of the newsletter to our veterans each month. 

 If you know of a veteran who would like a copy of the newsletter, please let us know, and we will add them to the list.
Just send an email to:
Help the Scions to Provide This Newsletter to Our Veterans Who Do Not Use Email
Our list of veterans who are getting this newsletter in a hard copy format is growing as our organization grows. Up to this point the cost of printing copies of the newsletter and mailing it has been donated by one of our Scions. However as the list grows the organization will need to offset these costs. Please consider making a donation to support this effort.

 Donations can be sent to us at the address below. Please note that the gift is earmarked to support the newsletter.

Scions of the 17th Airborne
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd.
Danbury, CT 06811
Scions of the 17th Airborne Receives
Tax Exempt Status

By Ed Siergiej Jr., Secretary / Treasurer
The Scions of the 17th Airborne has received 501c3 tax exempt status, as a public charity,  from the IRS.

Bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts to the Scions are now deductible under Section 170 of the IRS code. 

All donations are acknowledged with a letter that can be used for tax purposes.
The Latest on the Miley Postage Stamp

by Ed Siergiej Jr.
 Col. John Kormann had been working to get a postage stamp issued by the USPS to honor General Miley as the father of the U.S. Paratrooper for some time. We have encourage our membership to write to the Postmaster General in support for this stamp. 

Editors Note: Scion Diane Clark, daughter of Mel Lagoon (  ) sent us a copy of the letter that she and her family sent in support of this effort. 
Megan J. Brennan
Postmaster General and CEO
475 L'Enfant Plaza, 
Washington DC 20260
Subject:  General Miley Postage Stamp

Madam Postmaster General,

In memory of General Miley we would like to petition you to honor him and his significant work during World War II.  General Miley is known as the father of the U.S. Paratrooper.  He was instrumental in  the formation of the Airborne, as we know it today, especially the 17th Airborne Division which he led during the trying times of the Battle of the Bulge and the airborne assault of Operation Varsity.

Thank you for your consideration to create a special stamp for General Miley that would memorialize his contributions and  honor all of the 17th Airborne Division veterans that sacrificed during WWII.

Sincerely yours,

Scion 2015 Gathering Schedule
In this section of the newsletter we will post information on both annual and regional gatherings, so we can reserve the time in our schedules. We will keep this schedule updated each month.

Our next gathering will be on Veterans Day Week at Arlington National Cemetery. Details will be posted here in the next issue.

 If you are planing a 17th Airborne related event, let us know, and we will post it below.

Photo from our initial gathering in 2011

Scions Veterans Day Ceremonies
Arlington National Cemetery
November 10 & 11, 2015

Make your reservations now !
Our annual Veterans Day gathering at Arlington National Cemetery will be held on Monday November 9th and Tuesday November 10th. This very special ceremony is sponsored by the Reuben Tucker Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association each year and features a procession to each of the Airborne Memorials in the Cemetery. At the Memorial to the 17th we will lay a wreath in memory of the fallen troopers of the 17th. Later in the day, we will gather at the National WWII Memorial, and place a wreath at the Airborne panel. In the past, the Arlington Ceremony has taken place on November 10th. We are planning some special events for the 9th as well, hopefully including a dinner with Mrs. John Kormann. In the past, the Kormanns have hosted us for dinner at their home. Since the passing of Col. Kormann, Mrs. Kormann has relocated, and we plan to do the hosting for now on. 
Our accommodations last year Marriott Courtyard Pentagon South were so well received last year that we have made arrangements to have our "Headquarters" at this hotel again. We have reserved a block of rooms, which need to be booked before 10/11/15. The hotel is only 7 miles from Arlington Cemetery.

The Marriott has given us the same rate and amenities as last year.

Room Rate - $109/ night + tax (This is a great rate for a nice hotel in a great location)

Option to extend - The hotel has agreed to extend the above rate for up to 2 days before and/or after the 10th and 11th if rooms are available. This will be great for those who want to spend more time in DC 

Complementary Parking - If you have stayed in the DC area you know how great this is! 

Complementary Full American Breakfast for up to 2 people per room.

This package has a cut off date of 10/11/15. Please try to book early so that we will know how many people we are anticipating. You can cancel up to 2 days prior to the event without penalty. Use the link below to make your reservations, or call 
1 888 236 2427. Make sure that you tell them you are with the Scions of the 17th Airborne. 
As the schedule is finalized, we will publish it here. Marcy Schuerholz, daughter of Mick Stinchcomb (690th) has stepped up to organize the schedule this year. Thanks Marcy!!!!
2016 Lancaster, PA Operation Varsity Gathering
May 6 - May 11, 2016

By Michele Smith

       Mark your calendars, the 2016 Lancaster Reunion has been scheduled for check-in Friday May 6 to Wednesday May 11 checkout. You asked us and we listened. Many Scions who are still working requested that the Reunion fall over a weekend so they are able to attend. The Fulton Steamboat Inn has graciously set aside a block of rooms. Trooper Mike Rock already has his room reserved, in true Airborne spirit! I would love to see us fill up the entire hotel!  More complete details will follow in future newsletters. Here are the daily rates which include breakfast, dinner, all taxes and gratuities.
                                                   SINGLE:  $146.15
                                                   DOUBLE: $181.35
                                                   TRIPLE :  $ 216.55
                                                    QUAD:    $ 251.75
There will be a Registration Fee of $25.00 per person or $40.00 per couple to help cover the cost of our Hospitality Room and entertainment. May is a beautiful time of the season in this part of the country. Lots to see and do to make this a memorable family vacation in addition to attending the reunion. Even if you can only come for a day or two please plan to attend. Come and meet your extended Scion family and most especially, our honored 17th Airborne Troopers! If you haven't attended in the past you can view the website Their direct telephone number is 717-299-9999 ext.405 (Crystal Lombardo is the Group Coordinator there). If you have any questions in the interim you can email me at: HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Scions Memorial Fund
by Scion Secretary / Treasurer Ed Siergiej Jr.

The "Scions of the 17th Airborne Memorial Fund"  has been set up as a seperate account with the specific purpose of supporting activities that honor the memory of our veterans who have passed on. Some examples of how these funds will be used are as follows:
  • Providing wreaths for our annual ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Providing wreaths for the four Medal of Honor recipients on Memorial Day.
  • Funding for the cards sent to the families of veterans who have passed on.

Contributions in memory of a 17th Veteran, or any group of 17th Veterans
(Such as Co F, 513th, for example)  may be made to this fund by so designating.

Contributions can be made to:

Scions of the 17th Airborne Memorial Fund
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd.
Danbury, CT 06811

Jane and Alan Dole have made a generous contribution in memory of Bob Quegan (513/H)
!!  Welcome New Members  !!

Timothy Cox
Nephew of John H. Gerold (466th)
Queens, NY

Jonathan Dewald
Grandson of Florian J. Spang (550th Airborne Bn. & 194/I) 
Shorewood, WI

Tony Glavan
Gold Star Nephew of Fred Glavan (513/H) KIA 1/7/45
Coon Rapids, MN

Everyone should have a 17th Decal on their car! 

Scion Michele Smith reports that "My Dad and I have 17th AB license plates and 2 times in the past year I ran into 17th Veteran's sons who had no idea the Scions existed"

See the  "Online Store" below to get your decals


Information on Membership and Dues

 "Regular Membership" in the Scions of the 17th Airborne Division is open to any family member or descendant of any veteran of the 17th Airborne Division. 

 "Associate Membership" is available for those who are not related to a 17th veteran but have an interest in our missions., to honor the men of the 17th and to keep their history alive. 
 All veterans of the 17th Airborne Division are considered to be "
Distinguished Honorary Members" of the Scions.

 Regular and Associate Membership dues are $20/year. We strive to keep the dues low, to encourage membership, and renewals. We send an email reminder to each member on the anniversary of their initial membership. Funds generated from dues are our main source of revenue to operate the organization. If you have any question about your dues status, please send us an email to Likewise, any questions about membership, please contact us at the email address above as well.

 With your support, we can continue to fulfill and expand our missions to honor the men of the 17th and to keep their history alive.

Ed Siergiej Jr
Scions of the 17th Airborne, Inc.


Donations to the General Fund

This month we have received generous donations to our general fund by the following individuals 

Carol Inman

Chaplains Corner
by Isaac Epps
 This month I would like to use this space to share a message that appeared in the December 2008 Thunder Mail Call #9 issue that Bill Tom edited.
  Anyone who knew Dr. John Magill or ever heard him speak could feel his passion for the 17 Airborne Division. Here he is writing to Association President Col. Del Townsend thanking him for his efforts and his love for his buddies.
  It reads:
  Greetings Del,
  With heartfelt thanks we are answering your Thanksgiving message not only for the message itself but for shared comradeship in our beloved 17th Airborne and for our shared friendship in our reunions. We, too, have been blessed and spared in the awesome losses suffered by our long overlooked Airborne Division.
  In an interview for the upcoming PBS program in the Spring of 2009, I tried to honor our buddies who payed the supreme sacrifice.
  Once again, to you and all our beloved living comrades, we must take the torch from the faltering but honored dead comrades; and hold it high in the hope that our succeeding generations will take it from our faltering hands when we join our comrades in the "new adventure".
  Our love and prayers to all our glorious comrades.
  John and Anna
Dr. Magill passed away on October 31, 2013
Col. Townsend passed away on Jan. 26, 2010
We Took the torch and made the promise---Scions Forward---AIRBORNE!
Minutes of the Annual Meeting Held in Lancaster, PA

by Ed Siergiej Jr. & Melanie Sembrat


Below are links to the documents produced at our Annual Meeting from Lancaster this past month.

2015 Annual Meeting Minutes

Secretary's Report

Treasurer's Report

Many thanks to Scion Melanie Sembrat for acting as recording secretary.



Have a request to make for information, or for research help?  Send us an email and we will post it in a future edition of the Thunder From Heaven newsletter, in this section!

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding" Book
Now Back in Stock

This book, a translation of "Die Luftlanding" by Jonan Nitrowski, was compiled by Jos Bex. Mr Nitrowski gave permission for Jos to translate the book from the original German, into English, so that our veterans could read it. This book is a detailed account of Operation Varsity.

 We have just received a new supply of books from the author and anticipate selling them quickly. Send us an email to reserve your copy today. $80 each, including S&H in the USA. 
Ed Siergiej Sr (194/C) was treated to a surprise dinner and reception in Dowling Park, Florida, on the occasion of his 90th Birthday. The party was attended by 18 family and friends. Eds grand daughter Regina arranged for the special edition T-shrts which proclaim "Celebrating Ed's 90th Birthday" .... in Polish. The Talon, of course, speaks for itself!! Eds wife, Mary did most of the planning for this event over the past year and somehow managed to keep it secret!
Our good friends from the 101st Airborne Belgian Friendly Group featured our veterans who traveled to Europe this past March. Many thanks to all who made this fantastic trip such a great success.
From Scion Kerry "Mac" McLaughlin:

There is a rumor going around that I became engaged on June 19th in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I want to quash all the rumors by saying it is true.  Sandy Sak, my girlfriend from high school and college days, and I have become engaged.  We hope to marry this summer and travel to Buffalo and then to Tucson.  It is not an impulsive decision as we have been in contact for over eight months, a relationship that continues to this day from our teen years.  Our admiration for each other has grown over the years; we share the same values including our Christian faith and outlook on life.  
Scion Patty Bowers sent this photo of her and her grand daughter (A 4th Generation Scion) in their 4th of July Parade. Patty is showing her 17th pride with her Scions T-Shirt !!
From Gemma van Hoof:

Dear people,
It's nice to read there is a Newsletter of the Veterans of the 17 th Airborne Division for the Veterans and the family, etc.
29 March we were invited at the cemetery in the chapel of Margraten. It was nice to see that veterans come to Margraten.
Mark Chernek was singing a beautiful song. Wonderful. It was a pitty dat the chapel was too small! Many people were standing outside. We became a certificate of appreciations. Our thanks.
We also have a grave of Scirto Joseph J, Nr.32831853, 194 GLI INF 17 ABN DIV,  Wesel 24 Mar 1945, State New York.
In the cemetery of Margraten they try to give every grave a face to every name: pictior.
I have read that you give regional gatherings for troopers and their famelies.
You understand, that on this way we tryed to find the famely of Mr. Scirto.
I will send you a few pictiors and documents.
Yours sincerely,
Gemma van Hoof,
Eikenlaan 31,
6063 BM VLODROP. Ned.

Editors Note: If anyone has knowledge of Trooper Scirtos family, please respond to Gemma directly, at "" or to the Scions at ""
From Scion Barbara Tuttle:

Does anyone remember Sgt. LeRoy L. Haynes, who enlisted in Ohio and was killed in Operation Varsity?  If you have any information on his family, please email  His gravetender in Margraten would like to contact his family.
Mel Lagoon (193/E & 1940   with his youngest grand daughter, Laura.

From Diane Clark, daughter of Mel Lagoon:

As most of you know Dad recently was having falling issues and the dementia had advanced quite quickly.  Dad is now moved from the VA to the Life Care Center of Treasure Valley.    He may have a few days of some new surrounding confusion but the accommodations and staff are very nice.   Dad’s first impressions were very favorable, he liked the light and colors, he got well received and even a piece of birthday cake from a party underway and he met a few residences right away.   Mom is doing well and happy for this new location as it is very close for her to make frequent visits on her own. 
Drop him a note, stop by, give him a call - he always loves to hear a familiar voice. 
Mel Lagoon
Life Care Center of Treasure Valley
Room # 125
502 N. Kimball Place
Boise, ID 83704
208-377-1900  (this is the main number, since Dad won’t answer a phone we’ve not requested a specific line.  When calling ask for a mobile phone delivery and they will bring one to him.   Please be aware of their busy meal time of day and avoid;   8ish, noon and 5
Judy Foster Holland, daughter of Jim "Pork Chops" Foster sent this photo of the Medal of Honor Memorial in Indanapolis, IN.

Sick Call

Real Desmarets
Scion Director Cindy Heigl has been in contact with our friend Real Desmarets who was recently injured by exploding ordnance. Cindy has communicated with Real and reports the following. The entire Scion organization sends prayers, good wishes to Real for a swift recovery.

Hi all,I would like to let you know about fellow Scion Real Desmarets. He is in the Belgian Army & works for the EOD ( Explosive Ordinance Detail ). Recently a missile exploded in his hands. He was initially  in a local hospital in Ypres & was then transferred to a military hospital in Brussels which specializes in burn victims. Thankfully, Real is now at home continuing his recovery.  I know there are a lot of fellow Scions who would like to send him cards to wish him well with his long recovery. With his permission I am posting this update.  

Real Desmartes
27 Rue Des Conons 7780
Comines, Belgium

Real is a member of the wonderful 101st Belgian Friendly. This group every year invites a 17th Airborne veteran to be the honored guest at the Dead Man's Ridge Walk. This group pays for the veteran & one person who travels with the veteran to travel to Bastogne Belgium. There the veteran is treated like royalty. This year I was lucky to travel with the Scions group who went to the Dead Man's Ridge Walk in March. I saw first hand how they treat the 17th veteran. They want for nothing & are taken everywhere. Real is a good guy a wonderful part of our Scions & right now he is in a lot of pain. He will need a long time to heal from his wounds I am posting this with his permission.  I know all the Scions are spiritually with you & wish you well in your recovery.


by Isaac Epps

   The ones who went
   Were truly sent
   To do a Noble Deed;
   When evil showed
   They took the load
   In Justice, they believed.
   They heard the call
   And gave their All
   And some did not not come back.
   They knew the chance

   But took the stance
   When Liberty was attacked.
   It Speaks of Duty, Faith; and Love;
   It speaks of a respect
   for Country; For Others,
   For the Right of Man;
   To forget would be neglect.
   On this Their Day

   We stop to pray
   Their Memory shall live;
   The sacrifice they made was Life.
   What more can someone Give?
Standing Guard

Submitted by Dominic Biello
Charles J. Allen

507th Parachute Infantry Regiment


Charles "Chuck" Jay Allen, 93, of West Bloomfield, MI passed away on Sunday, January 18, 2015 in West Bloomfield Township. Born November 22, 1921 in Waukegan, IL he was the son of the late Japheth and Charlotte Allen. Charles "Chuck" was an Architectural Engineer before his retirement. He married Ruth Robbins Huff of Bloomsbury on October 14, 1944 at Fort Benning, GA and served in Europe as a paratroop officer in WW II. In addition to his loving wife of more than 70 years, Ruth, he is survived by sons Terry and Chris and daughters Vickey and Robin, all of Michigan. Graveside funeral services will be held Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 11 a.m. in First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Bloomsbury immediately followed by memorial services in the First Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are being handled by Doyle­Devlin Funeral Home, Inc. in Phillipsburg, NJ. Offer online condolences at Memorials may be made to the Church.
Bruce Waldo


Bruce Waldo was born on May 9, 1925, in Muskegon, Michigan. He graduated from Muskegon High School in 1943, and immediately enlisted in the Army Paratroops. 
In January 1945, he was with the 17th Airborne Division, 513 Paratroop Infantry, which was thrust into the Battle of the Bulge near Riems, France. His whole company was captured by the Germans. He eventually escaped from a Prisoner of War camp, and found his way back to the American troops. 
After the war, Bruce enrolled in Michigan State College (now University), and graduated in 1949. While in school he met and married Nancy Pringle.
Bruce was a sales rep in the construction industry for 40 years. After retirement he and Nancy moved to Hot Springs Village in 1993. They were members of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, where he was active in Outreach programs. 
Bruce was a leader of Arkansas Chapter #1 of the American Ex-Prisoner of War Organization. He was also a member of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. In the Village he was a member of the Men's 9-hole league. 
Bruce was predeceased by brothers James and Donald Waldo, son David and infant sons Arthur and Robert. He is survived by Nancy, his wife of over 67 years, sons Steven (wife Lin), Thomas (Anitra), and James (Susan); and ten grandchildren. 
Bruce's service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 7 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 199 Barcelona Road, Hot Springs Village. 
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Holy Trinity, or to Save A Warrior, P.O. Box 28656. Kansas City, MO, 64188. 
Arrangements have been entrusted to CedarVale Funeral Home. Online condolences/guestbook visit us at
Scion Mary Herheim, daughter of George Works (194/C) who died of wounds on April 11, 1945, provided the obituary above. If anyone remembers her father, Mary can be contacted at
Florian J. Spang


Jonathan Dewald sent this photo of his grandfathers grave. Florian Spang passed in 1990. An obituary is unavailable at this time.
Florian Spang served with the 550th Airborne Battalion which participated in Operation Dragoon, Operation Rugby as well as Operation Varsity after it was absorbed into the 194th GIR. 
Jonathan served with the 101st Airborne Division and is interested in any information regarding to his grandfathers service. He can be contacted at
17th Airborne Online Store
Sales of the items below help to support the missions of the "Scions of the 17th Airborne", to honor the veterans of the 17th, and to keep the history of the Division alive.

Send your check to:

Scions of the 17th Airborne Division
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd
Danbury, CT 06811
17th Airborne Car Flags

These high quality car flags are double sided, 12" x 18", and feature a heavy duty window mount. A great way to show your pride in the 17th Airborne Division

$25 each, includes S&H in the U.S.A.

Scions of the 17th Airborne Pins

This pin was designed by our founding veteran, Col. John Kormann. The pin is 3/4" in Diameter, with the Scion Logo

$10 each, includes S&H in the U.S.A.

Scion Coffee Mugs
Your beverage is guaranteed to taste better
in this Scions mug than in a canteen cup!

$16 each, includes S&H in the U.S.A.
Scions Tee Shirts

We had a sample Tee shirt made up to display at the 2012 Lancaster Reunion, and got a great response from those who attended. As a result, we can offer this 100% Cotten Tee Shirt with the Scion logo, and the motto "Thunder From Heaven" on the front and the back. Available in sizes S, M, L, & XL for $22 each, size XL for $25 each.
Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353

Operation Varsity Reports Available
This 57 page document was produced by the 17th Airborne staff at the end of the war. Included are maps of Drop and Landing Zones, Status of each glider load after landing, pre- arranged artillery coordinates, and much more.
8.5" x 14". Great reading.

Available in hard copy for a donation of $22 each
or on a CD for $12 each. Includes S&H in the U.S. 

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353
17th Airborne Challenge Coins
Challenge coins have been created by military organizations for many years. 
This beautiful, high quality challenge coin was developed by Scion Jeff Schumacher and his wife Melinda as a tribute to the 17th Airborne. The coin has the 17th Airborne insignia on one side, and the Scions logo on the reverse side. 
These coins are another great way to foster, promote, and honor the story of the 17th. On both sides around the perimeter of the coin there is a "rope" boundary symbolizing shroud lines of a parachute and tow ropes of the gliders (on two sides because they did double tow in Varsity).The black color symbolizes "SURPRISE" and the gold is the golden opportunity to seize by surprise. Also some blue on the Airborne side of the coin representing the blue skies on 3/24/45.
Available for $15 each, two for $25. Any additional coins above the quantity of two would be $10 each. Includes S&H.

Consider donating additional funds so that we can send these to as many of our veterans as possible, or buy two and give one to your special 17th veteran!
At the recent funeral of one of our veterans, the family actually included one of these coins with the veterans remains.

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353
Scion Hats and Patches
Show your pride to be a Scion of the 17th Airborne Division
The sample hats that we had made up for the Lancaster, PA Operation Varsity gathering sold out very quickly, so we had some more made up. Available in Blue, Black, or Red, these hats have our Scion patch sewn on.
A $25.00 donation is requested for each hat.

We also have additional Scion patches identical to those included in the packages sent to new members.he Patches are 3.5"H x 3"W and are available for $3.00 each.
Includes S&H in the U.S.

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne", 62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353

Proceeds from the sale of these items help to support the mission of the Scions, to honor our veterans, and to tell the story of the 17th Airborne Division
17th Airborne Decals

Scion Gary Stift had these great decals made up, and donated a quantity to us for sale to our members. Thanks Gary!!

Decals are available for $8.00 each, includes S&H in the USA.

Please indicate if you want the Talon Decal, or the Scion logo Decal, and the quantity requested.

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353
Talon Newspapers on CD
  During WWII, the 17th published a number of magazines, or newspapers under the title of "Talon". The two most well known are "Talon in Ardennes" and "Talon Crosses the Rhine". In addition we have located 14 additional issues. We have scanned these issues, and combined them on one CD, so that they can be made available to our membership. Thanks to those who have donated  these materials.
Thanks to our membership, we have the funds to put this package together!

The CD is available for $10 each. Includes S&H in the USA

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353

"Thunderbolt" Commemorative Book

  This 118 page book, published by the 17th before deployment to Europe, has many photo of individual units, as well as photos of the training.
  Two sample pages are shown below. Perhaps you can find your father, or grandfathers photo !
  Thanks to our membership, we have the funds to put this package together!

The CD is available for $20 each. Includes S&H in the USA

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353

Become a Member of the
Scions of the 17th Airborne!

Regular membership in the "Scions of the 17th Airborne" is open to any descendant or family member of any trooper who served with the 17th during its existence.

Our mission is to insure that the sacrifice and history of the 17th Airborne Division is not forgotten.

Distinguished Honorary Members 
All veterans of the 17th are considered as "Distinguished Honorary Members" of the Scions.  We exist to honor you, our veterans.

Associate Membership is available to individuals who have an interest in the history of the 17th Airborne, but are not related to a veteran of the 17th. Associate Members do not have voting rights.


To join our growing organization, contact the Scions at:

Our brand-new website contains a wealth of information on the 17th Airborne and its history, and our Members Section (open exclusively to dues-paying Scions) contains hundreds of pages of documents obtained from the National Archives!  Check it out at!


We also have a great Facebook page, where there are lots of great posts by friends of the 17th in the U.S. and in Europe. Check us out on Facebook at: 
17th Airborne Division Scions (Descendants).

Please consider passing this on to your children and grandchildren, if they are not already members. As our membership grows, we can take on new projects of value.


Rose Friday, daughter of Edward Friday (194th)

Vice President
Michele Smith, daughter of Bill Smith (466th)

Ed Siergiej Jr., son of Edward J. Siergiej (194th)


Board of Directors

Cindy Heigl - daughter of Tony Heigl (193rd)
Melanie Sembrat - daughter of Harry Sembrat (513th)
Robert Smith - brother of Levert L. Smith (194th)
Isaac Epps - son of Ralph Epps (194th)
Jeff Schumacher - son of John Schumacher (194th)
Chuck Katz - son of John Katz (194th)
Adam Coolong - grandson of Charles Booth (680/HQ)
Paul Madden - son of Harold Madden (680/A Battery)
Marty Cavanah - son of Earl Cavanah (193rd/194th)
Patty Bowers - daughter of Thomas Miller (193/HQ2)

Scion Facebook Page
Scion Facebook Page
Scions Website
Scions Website
Copyright © *|2013|* *|Scions of the 17th Airborne, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Scions of the 17th Airborne
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd
Danbury, CT 06811
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