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 # 9 - June 2013
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:
Ed Siergiej Jr. & Adam Coolong - Editors
Visit our Facebook page at:

17th Airborne Division Scions (Descendants)

Post your 17th related photos, stories and questions.
In This Newsletter
-   Trooper Stories - The Clinton Hedrick Memorial
     by Ed Siergiej Jr.

-   Trooper Stories - Charles "Lefty" Booth
     by Adam Coolong

-   Historian's Corner - Article by Col. John Kormann

-   Scions Create Memorial Fund

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplain's Corner
     by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Close to

-  17th Airborne Online Store

Thunder Mail Call by Bill Tom

- Letters From Home and Abroad

-  Sick Call


 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:

The Story Behind the Clinton Hedrick Memorial
  As we were putting together the newsletter last month, featuring the wreaths placed at the graves of the 17th's Medal of Honor recipients, it recalled the effort by Jim Foster, 194 C, to build this beautiful memorial. The memorial was built with funds raised by members of the 17th Airborne Division Association. We thought that this month, we would feature the story behind the construction of that memorial.

  The following story is reprinted from "Thunder From Heaven" February 1992, by Editor Joe Quade.

Clinton M. Hedrick Memorial Dedicated in Riverton,
West Virginia
Jim Foster's Dream Becomes A Reality

The Clinton M. Hedrick Memorial Dedication was held on Sunday, Nov.16, 1991 at the Riverton Methodist Church in Riverton, West Virginia.  Attending the most impressive ceremony were twenty five former members of the 17th Airborne Division, some from as far as Texas.  They came to pay their respects to the fallen hero and participate in the program.  Some of these men served in the 550th Airborne Infantry with Clinton in Panama, then to North Africa, then to Italy and Southern France and the Battle of the Bulge.  After the Battle of the Bulge, due to heavy casualties, the remnants of the 550th were mustered into Company I of the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment. Technical Sergeant Hedrick was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for extraordinary heroism and gallantry in action on March 27-28, 1945 in Germany, when he was mortally wounded.

Jim Foster, (194C) was instrumental int eh effort to establish the 12 ton, 8 foot tall, granite memorial.  While visiting the visitor center at Seneca Rocks in the early 80's, he saw the display there including Hedricks picture.  Jim began the search for Clinton's grave and for any living relatives.  After approximately 6,000 mile of travel and over $400 in phone calls during the next three and a half years, Jim located the grave in a mountainside near Cherry Grove.  The cemetery was uncared for, inaccessible by car, and completly overgrown by brush. Only after clearing the growth surrounding the grave could Foster get a good look at the gravestoen and tattered flag alongside.  He was convinced that this was not a suitable location for a soldier who had been awarded the Medal of Honor, so he talked with Richard Homan, local community leader and
Past National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars about moving the grave to a more appropriate place.  He then located Clinton's sisters and they agreed to have the remains of Clinton and his parents moved to the North Fork Memorial Cemetery.  Jim then returned to his home in Princeton, and started the drive to raise funds for a memorial.  With the help of Homan and others, including members of the 17th Airborne Division Association, the money was raised and the memorial purchased and erected.  The dedication ceremony originally was scheduled to be held a the memorial site, but because of inclement weather it was moved to the Riverton church.  Speaking a the dedication, in addition to Mr. Homan and Jim Foster, was Lt. Thomas McKinley, of Lexington, Kentucky, who was a platoon leader for the platoon which Hedrick served as platoon Sergeant.  Others who spoke at the ceremony were Grayson Elsea of Luray, Virginia , radio operatior, Paul Garrett of Hamestead, Maryland, platoon member, and Col. Carl Peteson of Laurel, Maryland, oldest surviving officer in Clinton's Regimental Headquarters.

Only standing room remained in the Church when the program began.  In addition to the 17th troopers and their wives, the audience included members of the Hedrick family, community leaders in the Pendleton County area, VFW Post representatives and local citizens.  Music was provided by the Circleville High School Choral Group.
  Rev. E. Nenson Lea delivered the Invocation and Benediction to the dedication program.
17th Association members attending included Ed Lattouf, Corpus Christ, TX, Nathan Hicks, Rock Hill, SC, Mike E.K. Ryan, Morgantown WV, Earl S. Ringler, Salisbury, PA, Mike Rock, Edison, NJ, Col. Carl Peterson, Laurel MD, Hugh Frederick, Adamsville, AL, Paul Garrett, Hampstead, MD, John Onder, Edison, NJ, Jack Colley, new Castle, PA, Gene Tennison, Oxly, MO, Cecil Bender, Frostburg, MD, Roger Joyce, Eded, NC, John Baccaglini, Rochelle Park, NJ, Denny Hall, Morgantown, WV, Vincent Kelleher, Woodside, NY, Thomas McKinley Sr., Lexington, KY, Walter Wrzeszczynski, Bensalem, PA, Grayson Elesa, Luray, VA, James Foster, Princeton, WV, Albert D'Annunzio, Baltimore, MD, Albert Roeser, Leonia, NJ, Ed Siergiej, Danbury, CT.

Pendleton County and the 17th Airborne have reason to be proud of it's hero, Clinton M. Hedrick.  The memory of his heroism and gallantry has been preserved in a most magnificent memorial.
  The complete text of General Order No. 89 as it appears on the monument

Clinton M. Hedrick
Technical Sergeant
Company I, 194th Glider Infantry
17th Airborne Division

Born: Cherry Grove, West Virginia
General Order No.89: citation: He displayed extraordinary heroism and gallantry in action on 27-28 March 1945, in Germany.  Following an airborne landing near Wesel, his unit was assigned as the assault platoon for the assault on Lembeck.  Three times the landing elements were pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from strongly defended positions.  Each time, Sergeant Hedrick fearlessly charged through heave fire, shooting his Browning Automatic Rifle from the hip and reduced the enemy positions in rapid succession. When six of the enemy attempted a surprise flanking movement, he quickly turned and killed the entire party with a burst of fire.  Later, the enemy withdrew across a moat into Lembeck Castle.  Sergeant Hedrick, with utter disregard for his own safety, plunged across the drawbridge alone in persuit.  When a German soldier, with hands upraised, declared the garrison wished to surrender, he entered the castle yard with four of his men to accept capitulation.  the group moved through a sally port and was met with fire from a German self propelled gun.  Although mortally wounded, Sergeant Hedrick fired a the enemy and covered the withdrawal of his comrades. He died while being evacuated after the castle was taken. His personal courage and heroic leadership contributed in large measure to the speedy capture of Lembeck and provided an inspiring example to his comrades.
Views of the Original Grave of Clinton Hedrick
Your text caption goes here
Jim Foster, 194 C
Judy Foster Holland, Daughter of Jim Foster, 194 C
at the Grave of Clinton Hedrick

From Judy Foster Holland, Daughter of Jim Foster:

It was a very special day, and you know, God works things out.  You had asked for a photo of me placing the flowers.  I was by myself on this trip, but as soon as I reached the grave, a man pulled up who is the caretaker of that cemetary.  He was so very nice to me and so very helpful.  We exchanged phone numbers.  Wait until I tell you this. . .
A lady in town had placed flowers there every year but she passed away so wouldn't have placed them this year, and here we show up (Scions) to take over where she left off.  That gives me goose bumps.  The man who made the ribbon put Scion instead of Scions, but it was otherwise beautiful.  That cemetary caregiver said it is extremely windy there and that next year we should use a smaller, low profile wreath.  I appreciate his advice.
I can't begin to tell you what a perfect day it was . . .  THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE PRIVILEGE TO PLACE THESE FLOWERS.  If you don't mind, I would like to continue doing so every year as long as I am able to do so!

Editors Note:  We thank Judy for taking on the mission of placing the wreath each year on our behalf.  Everyone should know that in order to do this, Judy has to travel far enough to have to stay overnight. Judy certainly has her fathers spirit !!
Charles E. Booth, 680 HQ
Charles Edward “Lefty” Booth, 33676189
HQ Battery, 680th GFAB
My grandfather Charles “Lefty” Booth served in the 17th and 82nd Airborne Divisions during World War II.  I never knew him personally.  Although he survived the war and returned home he died a young man, before I was born.
No one in my family knew much about my grandfather’s war experiences, and it wasn’t until I began researching the topic myself few years ago that his story was duly recorded in our family history.
It took almost 18 months, during which time I tracked down his personnel file from the National Archives, spoke with veterans, joined division associations and made countless research trips to libraries and newspaper archives, but I now know the “nuts and bolts” of my grandfather’s time with the World War II US Army. I may have never been able to meet him, but I now feel closer to my grandfather than ever thanks to this project.  As he is no longer around to tell us his story in detail, this shall have to suffice.
My grandfather Charles was known as “Lefty” to his friends.  He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Dec. 2, 1924.  Although underage, like many of his generation he attempted to enlist in the US Army immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  Unfortunately for him, he skipped school to do so, and his attempt was captured on film and his visit to the recruitment office ended up on the front page of the evening newspaper on Dec. 8!  He came home to find his parents furious with his truancy!

Although he had to wait, Lefty would get his chance at military service.  He was drafted into the US Army on April 10, 1943, and inducted at Fort Meade, Maryland.  By April 15 he was at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, and became part of the brand-new 17th Airborne Division.  He received his basic training there and in July was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion.  He became a certified “gliderman”, qualified as a Marksman with the M1A1 Carbine, and probably because he could type 30 words a minute, was initially given the Military Occupational Specialty (“MOS”) 055 “Clerk, General”.   In September he was promoted to Technician 5th Grade (or as it was colloquially known to the troopers, “Model T Corporal”) and given the MOS 275, “Classification Specialist”.  His duties included working in Battalion headquarters, maintaining the personnel records of the Battalion’s troopers, administering intelligence and aptitude tests, and assigning MOS classifications to the men.
He trained with the 680th at Camp Mackall until early 1944, when the 17th Airborne was sent to the Tennessee Maneuver Area to participate in war games.  After the conclusion of these training maneuvers, Lefty and the men of the 680th made their homes at Camp Forrest, outside Tullahoma, Tennessee.  Here training resumed and camp life went on as scheduled until August, 1944, when the 17th Airborne began the process of leaving the US for overseas deployment.  They packed their bags and boarded a train for parts unknown.  On August 14, 1944, the men arrived at Camp Miles Standish, the Boston Point of Embarkation.
Destination Europe!  On August 20, 1944, the entire 17th Airborne Division boarded the USS Wakefield for the trip across the Atlantic.  The Wakefield traveled alone, and on August 28, the ship docked in Liverpool, England.
From Liverpool, Lefty and the men of the 680th were sent via train to Camp Chiseldon, outside the town of Swindon, England. 
On Christmas Day, 1944, shortly after the German attack in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg, the 17th was finally set to join the war.  The men were sent by plane and ship across the English Channel to Camp Mourmelon in France.  I am unclear as to whether Lefty made this journey by sea or air, but his records show that he was in Mourmelon beginning on Christmas Day. 
The 680th GFAB was trucked into the war and the Battle of the Bulge just after Christmas.  Records show that Lefty and the other men of the Personnel Section, HQ Battery remained at Camp Mourmelon in France until January 17th, 1945, when they followed their front line units and moved to St. Mard, Belgium. 

Lefty was in St. Mard until February 8, when the entirety of the division was sent back to Camp Mourmelon to rest and refit after a hard fight in the Bulge.
Back in France, the men began to prepare for their next assignment—Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine River.  The biggest Allied airborne operation of the war, Varsity took place on the morning of March 24, 1945.  Most of the 17th Airborne Division was dropped by parachute and glider north of the town of Wesel, Germany.  Again I am unsure as to whether Lefty came in by glider with units of the 680th, or if he was brought in as part of the “overland tail”, the truck convoy that brought in reinforcements during the afternoon of the 24th.  I am still working to clarify this point!
Lefty was in Wesel and Issum, Germany, until April 1, when his records show that he was in the town of Haltern.  After a short stay in Haltern, Lefty was stationed in Duisberg, where he would be through V-E Day and until mid-June.  On June 15, 1945, the 17th Airborne Division (and Lefty) arrived in Neufchateau, France, where the division was disbanded, their mission complete.
Many of the “high point men” were then scheduled to go home, but Lefty’s army service wasn’t over yet.  Along with many other men of the 17th lacking the necessary ASR points to warrant an immediate trip home, Lefty was sent to the 82nd Airborne Division and promoted to Tec/4 on June 23, 1945.  I have heard stories from vets who told me that after the 17th was disbanded, the army separated the men by height, and that they put the men taller than six feet into the 82nd.  Men under six feet in height went into the 101st Airborne and on to Austria for occupation duty.  The reason?  The 82nd Airborne was headed for occupation duty in Berlin, and the Army wanted a formidable physical presence in the former capital of the Third Reich.  This may in fact be true, at least in Lefty’s case.  He was 6 foot 1 inches tall, and he ended up going to Berlin!
After joining the 82nd Lefty was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 376th Glider Field Artillery Battalion.  Tec/4 Booth became Staff Sergeant Booth on July 30, and remained on occupation duty in Berlin until November 20, 1945. 
Finally, the big trip home!  On November 20, 1945, Lefty left Europe for the US.

That trip home is one of my favorite parts of my grandfather’s story.  While many of the men of the 82nd Airborne left Europe on board the Queen Mary, Lefty departed via Antwerp on board the “liberty ship” SS Thomas Marshall.  That ship’s name became an important part of my family’s history when it became the namesake of my uncle, Lefty’s son Thomas Marshall Booth.  I’ve often found that to be a romantic part of his saga!
The Thomas Marshall (the ship not the uncle) docked in Boston on December 23, 1945.  Lefty wouldn’t make it home in time for Christmas, but he was finally out of the army on December 28!  How exciting it must have been for his family to have him home safely! 
His girlfriend Nora Joyce finally back at his side, Lefty rejoined civilian life.  Lefty and Nora were married on Valentine’s Day, 1946 (another romantic tidbit!), and they welcomed their first child, my mother Jane Alice, into the family in 1947.
Lefty spent a total of two years and eight months in the army, with sixteen months of that time spent overseas.  He was decorated for his service:  as mentioned previously, he was a Marksman with the M1A1 carbine.  He qualified for his “glider rider” badge.  He received the American Campaign Medal, the European/Africa/Middle East Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars (for the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns), Army Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp, Distinguished Unit Citation for the 680th’s participation in Operation Varsity, and the most important of his decorations from an individual perspective, the Bronze Star. 

This last decoration was personally recommended to Lefty by Lt. Col. Paul Oswald, the commanding officer of the 680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, for

“meritorious service in connection military operations as Personnel Clerk Unit Personnel Section, Headquarters and Service Battery, 680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, European Theater of Operations, from 20 August 1944 to 8 May 1945.”

I am proud that my grandfather made a positive impression on his battalion commander, and that he did his job for the good of his comrades in arms and his family at home. 

After the war, Lefty attended the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy, which later became Robert Morris University.  He was employed as a bookkeeper at a major Pittsburgh-area car dealership, and raised four children, and was active with his local VFW post.  He died on February 3, 1970.

Although I never met  him, I draw comfort in the fact that if it wasn't for my desire to look into his life and somehow "get to know him", I'd never have found the Scions of the 17th Airborne.  For that much I am grateful!  I look forward to many years of involvement, honoring my grandfather and the other brave men of the Golden Talons!

Adam Coolong


The following article appeared in the hard copy "Thunder From Heaven" newsletter, edited by 17th veteran Joe Quade.
The average soldier has little knowledge of the plans the generals are hatching for them. At most they might suspect that their unit would be committed to some on-going campaign. Many of my buddies thought once the Holland operation ("Market-Garden") started that the 17th Airborne would participate in it. In fact I remember some complaints about us not getting into that fight. Any thoughts along that line I might have had were quickly dismissed a few days later, when I viewed a large grassy area full of newly arrived stretcher cases outside the field hospital in Chiseldon, England.
In February 1945, First Allied Airborne/Army/ XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters were rife with plans. "Operation Varsity" was at the head of the list. It called for three airborne divisions to participate, the 17th, the 13th (which had not yet been in combat) and the 6th British. However, as in the case of Holland, where the 17th was not used for lack of air transport, the 13th was not utilized in "Varsity." Ambitious plans for the airborne also involved the dropping of the 82nd and the 101stAirborne Divisions in "Operation Choker II", which was to follow hard on the heels of "Varsity," in support of General Alexander Patch's 7th Army crossing of the Rhine down south at Worms. 
It is interesting that both "Varsity" and "Choker II" involved divisions of the XVIII Airborne Corps and that General Ridgway was slated to head the two diverse operations, a real challenge for any commander. He would be subordinate to British General Miles Dempsey on the one hand and American General Patch on the other in two separate airborne actions close upon one another. It is probably well that "Choker II" was overtaken by events as Allied ground troops moved forward swiftly. 
In the generals' vest pocket waiting to be pulled out in the event of a more rapid than anticipated collapse of the overall German defense was "Operation Eclipse. " The latter envisaged two American airborne divisions descending on Berlin. This, too, was planned for the 82nd and the 101st and would have replaced "Choker II". One wonders what might have happened had this operation ever materialized. Although it would have incensed the Soviets, it probably would have been welcomed by many Germans.
The granddaddy of all of these schemes, however, was "Operation Arena". In Washington, General George Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff and Air Force General Hap Arnold really were desirous of seeing what the airborne could do. A proposal by First Allied Airborne Army planners dubbed "Arena, " which prescribed the dropping of a large force deep into enemy territory, was intended to do just that. 
The plan called for all six Allied airborne divisions to be used, the American 13th, 17th, 82nd and 101st, as well as the British 1st and 6th. The extensive drop zone would be a hundred miles into Germany in the area between Paderborn and Kassel containing a number of usable airfields. As soon as the ground was secured, four or five regular infantry divisions would be flown in. This force once established would play havoc with the entire defense of Germany, speeding its collapse. Airborne commanders, to say the least, were enthusiastic about "Arena's" potential, but it was never to be. Had it taken place, a spectacular chapter in military history might well have been written.
John Kormann
Colonel John Kormann, AUS Ret, the Association's
Representative to the Cemetery salutes the 6,292
killed or wounded members of the 17th Airborne at
the Division's memorial marker.

Scions Create Memorial Fund
by Scion Secretary / Treasurer Ed Siergiej Jr.
The passing of a loved friend or family member is always a difficult time for any family.  The challenges of making the final arrangements at times like this are compounded by our feelings of loss. The loss of Trooper Harry Sembrat, 513 HQ1 on June 2nd was such a time for the Sembrat family.  And yet, in the midst of this sad time, I received a message from Harry's daughter, Melanie asking if our organization had provisions for accepting donations in his memory.  Our executive committee had discussed this on several occasions, but had not actually set up a separate account for this purpose.  After some consultation with the committee, and also with some of the leaders of the 17th Airborne Division Association, we agreed to set up a permanent Memorial Fund, and did so immediately.

Funds donated in Harry Sembrat's memory have all been directed to this account, as will future donations that may occur in memory of any 17th Trooper.

Scion VP, Michele Smith has designed a special card to acknowledge contributions to the donors, and we will also communicate contributions made to the family.

We will be working out the details for how these funds may be spent in the next few months, and will formalize these guidelines at our next annual meeting.

Welcome New Scion Members

The Scions of the 17th Airborne are proud to welcome the following new members, who have joined our organization this month. As our membership grows, we can take on additional projects to honor our veterans and educate about the history of the 17th Airborne.

Mike Martinez, San Jose, California
son of Adolph Martinez Jr. 513 / C

Patricia Miles Giannone, Wayne, New Jersey
niece of Vincent Miles, 513 PIR, KIA


Thanks for joining us to honor the men of the 17th Airborne! 
Chaplains Corner

by Isaac Epps

Hello all you Scions and anyone else interested---I am the Chaplain of the Scions of the 17th Airborne, and I want to reach out about something that is very basic to our mission. I want to encourage any of you who has a 17th Veteran in your family or in your heart (and if you feel comfortable sharing) to let us know about health issues that they are facing so that we may reach out to let them know we are caring and praying for them.

    One of our most important efforts when we get a Taps Notice is to attempt to represent the 17th Family at the funeral. We are reaching out to find volunteers who will be willing to stand there with the family to honor these heroes. If you feel moved to take on this effort please contact Ed Siergiej at  As the need arises we can contact you when there is a funeral near where you live.

Another important thing we can do is actually visit our Veterans. My father was a Chaplain; and there were times when I would drive him to visit shut-ins, hospital patients, and those in the nursing homes where he lived.
  To see the joy on the faces of those people; many who got no other visitors, was inspirational.

  Anyone who is interested in finding a 17th Airborne Veteran near you to visit; please contact me at "", and I will see who is nearby and will help you coordinate that effort.

Thank you in advance for stepping up here.

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Close to Completion

Starting last winter, Jos Bex took on the job of translating the book, "Die Luftlanding" into English. He has singled out 180 pages of personal accounts about Operation Varsity that cover March 24th and 25th, 1945, that include the action where the 17th Airborne was involved.

Scions Chaplain and Historian, Isaac Epps has been helping Jos with the project and reports that:
"I became aware of the fact that this will be the definitive report about Operation Varsity. Here you find accounts of the landings from the Allied perspective; the German perspective; and the view from the locals who lived in the drop and landing zones."

Once this effort is complete, Jos will add many "now and then" photos to these personal accounts; and he will have it bound and put it up for sale. Look in this publication in the future for further information as to how you can purchase this one of a kind document.

He is now asking that any veteran who wants his personal story about Varsity included in this effort to mail or e-mail that to him as soon as possible, as he is trying to finish this project by the end of June. Information follows as to how that can be done.

Thanks to Jos for putting in the time to make this important information about Operation Varsity available to those of us "over here".

  Jos Bex
  Lemoen 9
  6852 DS Huissen
  The Netherlands

Col. Kormann wrote the following text to promote the translation:
“This unique book written by a German on the ground during the worst day for the Allied airborne in World War II is the most extensively researched and documented of its kind."
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

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 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
These beautiful, high quality challenge coins were developed by Scion Jeff Schumacher and his wife Melinda as a tribute to the 17th Airborne. The coins have the 17th Airborne insignia on one side, and the Scions logo on the reverse side. 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!

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

17th Airborne Division, Volume 1

  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:
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).

The Scions also has a website up and running, although it is still under construction. We will have information on the history of the 17th, documents that are related to the 17th, a place to post copies of our newsletters, and other valuable information.

The website is located at:

Many thanks go out to Scion Danny Carter, who is assisting us in setting up the website!

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)

Executive Committee:

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)
17th Veteran Joe Quade sent us the photo above with the following caption.

"Five old geezers from VFW Post  who have been  named  Livng Treasures of Morris County"  

We can only agree about the "Living Treasures" part. Still looking sharp, Joe!!
From Scion Richard Madden

Thought that the Vets and family would enjoy reading these:
Today in history the British 6th and the American 17th Airborne divisions made history with the largest one day airborne crossing of the Rhine into Germany near the town of Wesel and just 35 miles north, on the same side of the Rhine, of Arnhem, where Montgomery was defeated the previous September. 

“A complex Allied air-movement schedule required the 6th Airborne to take off from 11 airfields in England, and the 17th Airborne from 12 airfields in France. The forces were to converge over Brussels, Belgium, in three lanes spaced one and a half miles apart. From Brussels they were to turn northeast on to the final 103-mile-long leg to their massed flight to the airhead. Only the last six miles of the final leg were over enemy-occupied territory.

The left lane of the great Allied air armada was to be occupied entirely by the 6th Airborne. In fact there were to be two left lanes flying at different altitudes. The American airplanes carrying British paratroopers were to fly at 1,500 feet while the all-British glider train flew above them at 2, 500 feet. 

The centre lane would be taken up completely by the 17th Airborne’s glider serials. All of the American paratroop serials would fly in the right-hand lane. 

Utilizing this massive formation, the Allies would be able to land all 21,680 gliderman and paratroopers of both divisions on D-Day in as little time as two hours and 36 minutes. The Varsity D-Day drop was to be the largest single airborne attack made by either side during the war – even larger than the one made in Holland on D-Day of Operation Market=Garden.” 
~ “Silent Wing:The Saga of the U.S. Army and Marine Combat Glider Pilots During World War II” by Gerard M. Devlin

Over 900 Glider pilots had been put in reserve for an operation on March 29th causing as shortage of glider pilots. To fill the shortage of glider pilots, power pilots from fighter, bomber and carrier groups were assigned as glider co-pilots. Some were reassigned two weeks prior to the operation for a two week infantry training by the 17th Airborne. Others, such as my dad, Flight Officer Elmer Lee Whitmire, went from piloting C-47 glider drops to glider co-pilots with two days notice. On March 22, 1945 Lee along with 6 other C-47 pilots from the 438th Troop Carrier Group, 88th Troop Carrier Squadron, arrived at Brietingy –B-48 airfield. The base was closed on March 23rd and the 6 men from the 88th were given one day of infantry training. Now that the base was closed they were briefed as to what their mission would be within the operation. 

Lee was now assigned to the 435th TCG, 78th TCS. On March 24th history was made with many firsts. This was the first time troop carriers would be double towing gliders into combat. This was the first time the landing zones would not be secure prior to landing. The first time they would be landing in the middle of the enemy who knew they were coming. As they delivered their load to DropZone S the 435th now became part of the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment. They now became the first all officer company, and the first time an all glider pilot infantry company in combat to defend a stategic position. Sadly the this operation had the highest loss of pilots. My dad was with the 78th platoon, 5th squad. The 435th repulsed the Germans twice including a tank and secured the crossroads. This battle became known as the battle of Burp Gun Corner
The second one
This day in history 1945 the Varsity Operation proved a success and the Glider Pilots from the 435th walked two miles around midnight on March 25th from Wesel to the Rhine River where they were ferried across the Rhine. At Xanten on the 26th in the wee hours of the morning they were told to get sleep where ever they could find a place to lay down. The next morning at the Xanten British station they were welcomed. The following notice was posted for the Glider Pilots on the bulletin board:










The 435th evacuated on any plane with nose numbers: CK (75TCS), CW (76TCS), IB (77TCS), CM (78TCS) all were squadrons of the 435th and which would all return to Advanced Landing Ground airfield # B-48 Brétigny France the home of the 435th TCG. 
The Varsity Operation proved to be the beginning of the end of the war.


 From Editor Ed Siergiej Jr:

 Each month, we get inquiry's from our membership, which we try to answer, or pass on to someone who may have the answer. This month we got an interesting email from Jesse Rosenburg, daughter of Murray Rosenberg

My father, Murray Rosenberg, served in the 17th Airborne Division during World War II.   One of his prized possessions was an illustrated booklet dating from the war years (or shortly after); it contained a number of group photographs, one of which included my father.   Sadly, I lost track of this publication a very long time ago!
I reproduce below the information from his discharge form, which my mother still has.   Do you have any idea how I can track down a copy of the booklet which includes his picture?   I would be willing to purchase this item.   If I knew the title of the booklet, I could try to find a copy in a library.   I'll appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Many thanks!
Jesse Rosenberg

194 Glider Inf.
17 Airborne Division
Army serial no.:  42 036 498
Grade: PFC
Discharge date: 27 May 1946, Ft. Dix, NJ
Perm. address/Address from which employment will be sought:  1954 Strauss, Brooklyn, NY
Height: 5-5  Wt. 130

Military history:
Date of induction: 25 Sept. 1943
Date of entry into active service: 15 October 1943.
Place of Entry into service: NY NY
Military occupational speciality and no.: Interpreter 320.
Military qualification and date: M1 Rifle  MKM 150 APR 44
Battles and campaigns: Ardennes   Central Europe   Northern France   GO 33 WD  45 AS AMENDED
Decorations and citations: European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Good Conduct Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Wounds received in action: None
Service outside continental U. and Return:
Date of Departure:  20 Aug. 1944, Destination: ETO   Date of Arrival 26 Aug. 44

Date of Depature: 15 May 1946, Destination: USO  Date of Arrival  21 May 46
Mustering out pay: Total $300, This payment $100
Travel pay: $4.05
Total amount: $500.29

Editor: I responded to Jesse, that we have recently scanned the book in question and would be offering it on a CD in our June newsletter. I also copied my response to my father, who often has information in the records of the 17th Airborne Div. Association, that is of help. Dad responded to Jesse as follows

Son Ed,  has forwarded you message to me to see I could be of help. Question: Was your Dad initially
in the Army's ASTP (Army specialized training program) at Norwich University In Vermont before being
transferred to the 17th in Tullahoma, Tennessee?  If so, we were roommates for a period of about three months at which time the  Engineering program was terminated due to the state of war in Europe.

Ed Siergiej Sr.

Editor: Jesse responded to dad as follows

Dear Mr. Siergiej,
MANY thanks for your message, and yes, my father was indeed in the ASTP in Vermont! - it's so wonderful to make this connection with you.
My father died in 2003, and we were always so proud of the way he served his country at an especially challenging time in history.
I sincerely appreciate your writing me about this.
Best regards,
Jesse Rosenberg

Editor: On a hunch, I dug into some photos in dad's archives, and forwarded them to him three shots taken at Norwich University. Dad confirmed that one of them was indeed Murray Rosenberg. I emailed the photo to Jesse, who had the following response.

Dear Edward,
THANK YOU! - Yes, there's no question about it:  the middle photo is of my 18-year old father.   Naturally it's a picture I've never seen before, and I sincerely thank you for sending it to me!
Best regards,
Jesse Rosenberg

From left to right......
Picture 1.......Hawley Smith (top)...E.Siergiej (bottom)
Picture 2...... Murray Rosenberg 
Picture 3...... E. Siergiej
Regarding Edison N. Williams - Serial #7-023-747 - 194th Glider Infantry Regiment
I am trying to reconstruct my deceased step-father's military history and would appreciate any help from anyone associated with the 17th Airborne.  Unfortunately, his was one of the records that was destroyed in the fire at the military records center.  I do know however that he was with the 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion when it was converted to a glider infantry unit prior to the invasion of Southern France. He was still with the 550th when it was attached to the 194th Glider Infantry regiment of the 17th Airborne in 1944.  Beyond that, I have no recorded information of his experiences and would appreciate any information from any source connected to the Scions.
Thanks in advance for any assistance.
Larry McClellan
Clemmons, NC

Hi Larry,
 I am forwarding your inquiry to our Historian, Isaac Epps. In addition, we will post your message in our next newsletter for the membership to view. I will also take a look at some of the information that we scanned at the National Archives last November. We have just begun this project, and to date, most of the information we have scanned is from the 193rd and 194th. I will let you know if we turn anything up.
Best regards,

Ed Siergiej Jr


Sick Call

From Chaplain Isaac Epps:

I went to call Tony and Gena Marincola to congratulate them on their wedding anniversary; and their granddaughter Terry answered and shared with me that Gena was now in hospice care due to lung cancer.
  Prayers and good wishes to them now--
   Tony and Gena Marincola
   19613 Ermine St.
   Canyon Country, Ca. 91387
   (661) 252-1320


Harry Sembrat
513 HQ 1

Harry Sembrat, 91, died peacefully at home with his family on June 2, 2013 after a brief illness. Born in Syracuse to Julia (Batruch) Sembrat and Andrew Sembrat, he was the youngest of five children. He was employed by the New York Central Railroad in East Syracuse and Dewitt, retiring from Conrail in Selkirk after 46 years of railroad service. Serving as a paratrooper with the 17th Airborne Division in World War II, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the Ardennes Campaign, and Operation Varsity. Harry met his wife Nadia while playing in a church softball game; they were married in Amsterdam on July 29, 1949. He was proud of his daughter, Melanie, his family, and of his Ukrainian heritage; he enjoyed family as well as his work on the railroad. Harry was a 58-year member of the Holy Name Society of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse. He was a 28-year member of the 17th Airborne Division and enjoyed going to the reunions and talking with his fellow 17th Airborne Division Paratroopers. He was a member of the Scions of the 17th Airborne Division, whose mini-reunions he enjoyed attending in Lancaster, Pa. every March. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 1493, and various golf and bowling leagues. He remained a proud, loving, and devoted father up until he went to be with God on Sunday. Visiting hours will be held Thursday, June 6, 2013 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Parker Brothers Memorial in Watervliet with Panahyda at 6:30 p.m. Funeral liturgy, 9:30 a.m. on Friday at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Watervliet. Interment will be at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church Cemetery in Syracuse later that day.

Donations in his name may be made to the Scions of the 17th Airborne Division Inc., 62A Forty Acre Mt. Road, Danbury CT 06811.

Editors Note:  Scion Seceratery / Treasurer Ed Siergiej Jr, his daughter Maryjo, and Scion Peter Schleck were proud to be able to represent the entire Scion family at the wake and funeral for Harry Sembrat.

Harry asked that donations in his memory be directed to the Scions. We have created a special Memorial Fund, as detailed in this newsletter, for donations of this nature, and thank Harry's wife, Nadia, and daughter, Melanie for thinking of our Scion organization at this difficult time.

The photo below was taken at the 2013 Lancaster, PA "Operation Varsity reunion
Bernard E. Glanowski
513 F

December 30, 2003, beloved husband of the late Estelle S. (Mielanczak) Glanowski; dear father of Ronald (Karen), Kenneth (Kim) and the late Paul (Ann) Glanowski; also survived by 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; brother of the late Eleanor (Henry) Szuba of Louisiana; brother-in-law of Alice Wisniewski; survived by nieces and nephews. Funeral service from the BARRON-MILLER FUNERAL HOME, INC., 3025 William St. near Union Rd., Cheektowaga, Saturday at 11 AM. Family will be present Friday evening only 5-9 PM. Mr. Glanowski was a WWII veteran.
Photo taken at the 2012 Lancaster, PA "Operation Varsity" Gathering

Bernard Wolf
680th Glider Field Artillery

Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

Bernard Max Wolf, the son of Charles Paul and Mary Josephine (Harvey) Wolf, was born on November 30, 1924, at his parents’ home in Imlay, South Dakota, with midwife Nancy Iron Tooth attending. Bernard began attending school at age 6, riding horseback five miles to reach the school. The family later moved to Rocky Ford, South Dakota, on the White River, when a school was built there. Bernard completed first-sixth grades there before the family moved to Rock Port, Missouri, where he finished seventh and eighth grades.

When Bernard was seven, his father bought him a 22 hunting rifle, and for many years, Bernard helped feed the family using his hunting skills. In 1943, at the age of 18, he joined the United States Army and was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Here he became a member of the fledgling 17th Airborne Division; later, he joined the paratroopers, and proudly received his paratrooper and glider wings. Bernard received his honorable discharge in 1946. In March 2013, he traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he visited the few remaining friends of the 17th Airborne Division.

On February 1, 1953, Bernard married Shirley Ann King at the Chamberlain Wedding Chapel in Rock Port, Missouri. The couple had two children, Deborah Kay and Michael Paul. Bernard worked as a mechanic in construction and farm implements before owning Wolf Parts and Service in Harlan, Iowa.

Bernard was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Harlan. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and was a Shriner. Bernard’s love for family and friends molded him into a remarkable person, and he will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends. “Until we meet again.”

Bernard M. Wolf died on Saturday, June 15, 2013, at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa, having reached the age of 88 years, 6 months, and 16 days.

Bernard was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Ruth Kirk and Verna Vette; and one infant brother, Charles Wolf. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley Wolf of Harlan, Iowa; one son, Michael (Erin) Wolf of Glidden, Iowa; one daughter, Deborah (Stephen) Jurshak of Murray, Iowa; three sisters, Myrtle (Kenneth) Mapes of Omaha, Nebraska, Clara VanCleave of Millard, Nebraska, and Dorothy Shearer of Syracuse, Nebraska; five grandchildren, Aaron (Elizabeth) Wolf, Adam (Gina) Wolf, Kristin (Tim) Allen, Elizabeth (Andrew) Ray and Mona Jurshak; three great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service was held on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at the First United Methodist Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Darwin Moore officiating. Sandy Carroll was the organist, and Lee Nelson served as the soloist. Honorary casket bearers were Brenda Lutz, Steve Ellenwood, John Tyner, Gary Jorgensen, Alfred Olson, and Kenneth Mapes. Active bearers were Aaron Wolf, Richard Jorgensen, Adam Wolf, Rodney Mapes, Marvin Kelly Lutz, and William P. Lutz. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Harlan, Iowa, or Omaha Home for Boys, Omaha, Nebraska. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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