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 World War II.

We strive to accomplish these missions, by holding regional gatherings where troopers and their familys can gather, and by sharing their recolections in this "Thunder From Heaven" newsletter, on our website, and our Facebook page.
Issue # 5 - February 2013

Please send us your 17th related news items, questions etc. so that we can share them with the entire group. You may direct your mail to the Scions at:"".
Ed Siergiej Jr. - Editor
Visit our Facebook page at:
"17th Airborne Division Scions (Descendants)"
Post your 17th related photos, stories, questions.
In This Newsletter
-   Trooper Stories - Tony Heigl (193 / E )

-   17th Troopers recall Battle of the Bulge
     by David Cordero

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplains Corner
     by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

-    Register Now for the Lancaster "Operation Varsity" Gathering
     by Michele Smith

-  17th Airborne Related Items

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:

Tony Heigl 193rd GIR, Co E
by Cindy Heigl

Anthony ( Tony ) Heigl was born September 1st 1924. At the age of 18 Tony along with 4 other Fox Avenue boys were drafted unknowingly into the Army Airborne. Tony was an apprentice brewer at Iroquois Brewery at the time. Tony received Serial Number 32930465. When he was en route from Fort Niagara to Camp McCall , North Carolina he believed that he was going into the Army Air Corps. Arriving at camp much to his surprise he was given an explanation describing both of the services. He says the next morning 99 recruits marched to the orderly room seeking transfers. The transfers were denied & he began training with the 193rd. Glider Infantry Regiment. His front tooth was broken during his first landing in a glider. The glider came to an abrupt hard landing which jolted him forward , thus breaking his tooth. Once the Glider & Jump School training was finished the 193rd departed from Camp Forrest , Tennessee & arrived at Camp Chiseldon , England the end of 1944.

On December 15, 1944 via C-47 transports the 193rd left England for France. Upon arriving Tony’s CO posted him at a crossroads. His duty was to stand watch & direct all stragglers to their respective units. Three days passed with no replacement( remember a soldier never leaves his post until relieved) . He thought it was very unusual that no one came to replace him. The 193rd had moved their position near the front & he had been forgotten. A colonel came along & questioned his duties. After he explained he was temporarily drafted into a signal unit & began by laying wire. He rolled wire right into the 193rd camp & you guessed it he was cited as AWOL.

Shortly after the 193rd began its move for Bastogne. They were improperly clothed for midwinter weather. With a heavy snowfall the temperature fell well below zero. When they neared the front lines the battalion encountered a continuous barrage of enemy artillery fire, so vicious that it turned the very deep snow into a sea of mud. In January around the 7th 1945 Tony a Bar man & his ammo bearer Jim Sutton (from Nebraska) took cover in a shallow roadside ditch, just as an incoming round exploded enveloping them both within it. Jim Sutton was severely wounded covered in frozen blood & appeared dead. Officers told Tony to move on & was trying to get to the nearby woods when he was hit by shrapnel. It struck with such a force it was like a thousand hammers pounding on his head. Removing his helmet he smelled burnt loose hair he had found that the shrapnel had pierced his helmet. Not only had shrapnel damaged his helmet but a bullet had entered & exited his helmet & also his liner. He later stated that he was so mad that his helmet had been damaged as he could not heat water or cook in it anymore. While he was departing & trying to get to the woods for better cover he was shot in the left wrist. His hand became numb , & the freezing temperature coagulated the blood allowing him to get to a medic for care. At the medics tent another soldier was seriously wounded & they both had the same blood type. He gave his blood to the soldier & they were evacuated to a hospital in France. He remembers that they used the foil from a gum wrapper to hold the nerves together in his injured left wrist. He remembers giving his helmet to a chaplain for safe keeping & when they went to operate on him the surgeon asked what size his boots were. When the surgeon realized that he wore the same size boots they were immediately removed & placed under the operating table. Tony was able to report that the other soldier who he donated blood to survived. He was also bayoneted on his shoulder from hand to hand combat .

Tony was sent to Atlantic City for his wrist, as he had no feeling in it & could not move it. Several days before his wrist & hand were to be amputated he recalls being out on the boardwalk & a twist of fate caused him to trip. In falling he grabbed for a railing & in doing so twisted his shoulder which sent a sharp pain into his left hand . The feeling in his left hand was beginning to return. He was given a ball & told to keep squeezing it to help his wrist recover. He later began to move his wrist & as more motion came about the amputation was cancelled .Meanwhile during his hospital stay Tony’s parents received word that he was missing in action. Later on when he was sent back to Buffalo to recuperate he received a letter at his parents’ home. Imagine his surprise when he saw it was from Jim Sutton who he thought was dead. Jim Sutton said that his severe wounds caused extreme shock which made him look as if he were dead. If it had not been for the cold temperature freezing his wound he would have met his demise. When he was recovering from his wounds he remembered Tony’s address. Tony had always joked & asked for his mail at mail call giving his Buffalo address in German. Jim had remembered the German address had it translated & had sent a letter to him. They both visited each other’s home & enjoyed each other’s company & stories each time they saw one another.

Tony was discharged in 1946 & he returned to Iroquois Brewery. Tony received the Expert Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Ribbon, European Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal, Occupation of Germany, Glider & Jump Wings and the Presidents Citation. Over the years Tony attended 27 17th Airborne reunions & always enjoyed visiting with all his 17th buddies especially his beloved 193rd Co. E group. He was a volunteer for more than 10 years at the Buffalo Veterans Medical Center (where both his daughters worked) & a member of the Thundering Herd Camping Club.

He joined the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the 82nd Airborne. The Niagara Frontier is an all Airborne Chapter comprised of 82nd, 17th, 101st, 11th, 13th etc. The Niagara Frontier is unique that its members are American, British & Canadian. Tony was an active member & chairman of the boosters. He also was an active member of the Honor Guard marching in parades with the 193rd E guidon that he received from his buddies. Tony as part of his Niagara Frontier Chapter was invited by the Holland consulate to attend the commemoration of the last bell placed at the Netherlands Carillion in Arlington Cemetery in 1995. This was the 50th bell placed to commemorate the 50th liberation of the Netherlands on May 5th. There Tony was able to meet then Joint Chief of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili & had his picture taken with him. (see below) A true highlight of his life.

Tony died as a result of a fall in his basement during an early surprise snowstorm in October 2006. He is survived by his wife Betty of 55 years , 3 children Cindy, Debbie & Bob, & 4 grandchildren Melissa, Chris, Taylor & Aidan. As his Niagara Frontier members said Tony always marched to a different drummer.
  From Franklin Dentz...Co C 194th GIR
    In the fall of 1944 in England I became a member of Co. C  194th Glider Regt. I came over on the USS Wakefield the month before the 17th AB came on the same ship. About 600 of us came from a replacement camp to add to the number of men in the 17th.
   I hung around the Supply Room area when not training and made friends with the Medic ,Walt Wrzeszczynski, Pete Leonard and also two men about 20 years older then me...Supply Sgt Perry Cory and his friend Platoon Sgt  Lloyd Platt.
    In Feb 1945 Walt and Pete were several men who went up a hill in Luxembourg to try to get severely wounded Sgt Platt down for evacuation.Pete lost several fingers in his effort.
   Sgt. Platt spend 28 months in hospitals for treatment for his wounds....
  Many years later I met Perry Cory at the Binghamton, NY Reunion and invited him to stay at my home in NJ as they were going to visit New York City.. His family then commuted to visit New York City from our home in Somerville..
   Later in 1962 we stayed at the Cory home in Illinois for Easter weekend on our way to California. Perry said since we were coming back to NJ via the southern route to stop to see Lloyd in Louisiana where he was the postmaster.
   Lloyd lived  in the little town of Grand Cane...At 10:00 AM I went into the one window post office and stood before  it looking at Lloyd..I said nothing and after a few minutes Lloyd exclaimed.....Dentz..... He came to the front door and pulled down the shade which proclaimed "CLOSED".... He then went to a store to get his wife from her work and had her leave work for the day with instructions to go get a roast..Our family with Lloyd went to his home ... We had a fine visit and a great feast...
    There In 1962 I was the first member of Co C to visit him  after he left us for the Battalion Aid Station  in 1945. Lloyd was a fine gentleman and I was so glad to see him again.......
17th Airborne Paratroopers Recall Brutal Baptism of Fire During Battle of the Bulge

by David Cordero

  Over the years, the story of the American side of the Battle of the Bulge has been neatly condensed into something like this: On Dec. 16, 1944, the Germans catch U.S. forces off guard and rout them until the 101st Airborne comes to the rescue, holds the strategic crossroads town of Bastogne — while under a vicious siege by numerically superior Axis forces — before getting rescued by Gen. George Patton’s tanks.
That all happened, yes. Yet there was more to it. The 17th Airborne Division also did some heavy lifting.
“We got tangled up with some of Germany’s best troops,” Roy Evenson, a trooper in C Company of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, told me recently. “The roads were filled with dead.”
Even after Adolf Hitler finally grasped that his tanks were not going to reach the huge port of Antwerp and split the Allied forces in the north (British) and south (American), he remained obsessed with severing the Bastogne corridor.
The 17th Airborne stood in his way.
Nicknamed the Golden Talons, the 17th endured a harsh initiation into combat — even by World War II standards. Gen. Maxwell Taylor, commander of the 101st Airborne, told author John Eisenhower that the 17th went into battle under the most difficult conditions for a baptism of fire he had ever seen. One of its glider regiments, the 193rd, was almost completely chewed up.
Thousands of miles from home, dumped off trucks into the middle of Europe in temperatures well below freezing, the men were asked to attack almost impossible objectives and fend off tanks with weapons ill-equipped for the job. Many of them never made it back.
Here are just a handful of experiences from the men on the front lines of the 513th.
Into combat
The 17th Airborne was ordered to attack the small Belgian village of Flamierge in early January. Patton told Gen. William “Bud” Miley, commander of the 17th, there were would be little resistance.
He was nowhere near correct in that assessment.
Without enough time for an effective reconnaissance, the division went blindly into the attack and suffered dearly. Lt. Richard Manning of E Company and his platoon found themselves pinned down by a machine gun near the edge of a wooded area. They couldn’t go forward and they couldn’t go back. Manning decided their only choice was to try take out the gun.
He set up a base of fire while his platoon crept “more or less under the snow,” and into position to make a charge. Then came the most dreaded ordered a soldier could get.
“Fix bayonets.”
The men were already miserable, their teeth chattering from the biting cold. Yet this order had to have sent chills down their spines. Bayonet charges rarely made sense in the Civil War, 80 years earlier. How could they possibly overpower a German MG-42, capable of discharging 1,200 rounds per minute?
Suppressing fire kept the German gunner’s head down and soon Manning’s men made a beeline for him in spite of having to negotiate a barbed wire fence. Some went over the fence, some went under. Manning doesn’t remember which method he chose, just that — of all things to cross his mind at the moment — he was concerned about slicing up his new winter short coat, purchased with his own money.
“When we got to him, we could see he was a young kid,” Manning told me recently from his home in Mountaintop, Pa. “He was scared out of his pants and surrendered, so I guess you could say we executed that bayonet attack flawlessly.”
For his efforts and leadership, Manning’s battalion commander recommended him for the Distinguished Service Cross. However, Manning would have to wait some time to see his medal.
A few days later everything changed for him.
Tank trouble
The intensity of the battle reached its crescendo near what is now called Dead Man’s Ridge. Bob Patterson of E Company recalled the overwhelming power of the German tanks.
“Our bazookas couldn’t penetrate their hulls,” he wrote. “They overran our second platoon, killing or capturing most of them.”
Sgt. Isadore Jachman of B Company took extraordinary measures to save his pals from certain devastation. When a pair of German tanks emerged from the dense fog and threatened to overpower the paratroopers, Jachman recovered a bazooka from a dead comrade and took aim.
Born in Berlin to Jewish parents – his father fought for Germany in the First World War – Jachman was brought to the United States before his first birthday. He was motivated to volunteer for the American airborne in part to avenge the death of an aunt still living in Germany, along with other family members who were hauled off to concentration camps.
Here was his opportunity.
Jachman knocked out one tank with his shot, and then blasted away at another. Shortly after his second bazooka round discharged he was killed in a hail of machine gun fire. For his action on that day, Jachman was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Fellow trooper Al Bryant, who was in the same company as Jachman, witnessed nothing but failure against the tanks.
“Our anti-tank weapons were useless,” wrote Bryant, who was captured. “When our bazookas fired it might knock off a little metal but no real harm was done. We had a trooper dug in with a bazooka about 40 feet in front of us. He fired his bazooka at a Tiger tank, the tank fired back and our trooper was directly hit by an 88-millimeter shell.”
Close calls and wounds
Sgt. Jake Dalton was at the head of a patrol when word was passed up the line for him to halt while the column continued. As Dalton waited for the company commander to catch up, the lead man stepped on a mine.
“I can still see him screaming, ‘No, no, I don’t want to die! Please God, I am too young to die, I’m too young to die,’” Dalton said.
About 20 seconds later another mine was triggered, finishing the first man off and wounding several others.
“I never heard anybody scream like that,” Dalton said. “That was probably my worst experience during the war.”
Meanwhile, a few days after leading the successful bayonet charge, Manning had his leg nearly blown off by a tree burst near his foxhole.
“When I first came to in the deep snow, my left foot was behind my shoulder,” he said.
Unable to move, Manning was loaded onto a stretcher, carried about 100 yards to the rear and set atop of a jeep. What awaited him was a hair-raising ride to the aid station.
Each time artillery hit near the jeep, the driver and medic dove into a nearby ditch. Manning was stuck atop the jeep, tied down and completely vulnerable.
“I was helpless up there, but I didn’t blame them,” Manning said.
The war was over for Manning, who lost his leg later in life. The 17th Airborne, however, licked its wounds and fought again, making a parachute jump across the Rhine River in Germany in late March of 1945.
Sixty-eight years later, their feats still resonate.

David Cordero is the sports editor of The Spectrum & Daily News. His Soldier Stories columns appear the fourth Sunday of every month. Email him with comments and story ideas at

Editors Note: David has been interested in the history of the less well publicised Airborne Divisions, and has interviewed a number of 17th veterans for this story. The Scions thank David for his interest in the history and sacriface made by the troopers of the 17th Airborne
Welecome New Scion Members

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

John C. Nicandri
Son of Carlo L. Nicandri 193 A

Lucy Nicandri
Daughter of Carlo L. Nicandri 193 A

Patricia Bowers
Daughter of Thomas Miller 193 HQ2

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; and as the need arrises; we can contact you when there is a funeral near where you live. Thank you in advance for stepping up here.

Register Now for the Lancaster PA "Operation Varsity" Gathering

March 10th - 14th, 2013

by Michele Smith, daughter of Bill Smith (466th HQ)
V.P. Scions of the 17th Airborne Division


The reunion is only days away, but you still have time to register for this gathering in Lancaster, PA.
You won't regret it !

 Our annual Lancaster Reunion gives us a GREAT opportunity to spend time with our veterans and learn more about the 17th Airborne. Last year's reunion saw many new Scions in attendance, and we are hoping for an even larger turnout this year. Even if you are a first timer, you will feel like family the moment you walk in the door. We want you to have the same fun and camaraderie that we have experienced over the years. WE NEED YOU, SCIONS, TO GET INVOLVED TO CARRY ON THE LEGACY OF THE 17TH AIRBORNE. This gathering, and ones like it, give us the opportunity to get together to share ideas as to how we are going to accomplish this mission and at the same time have lots of fun. Most importantly, it also gives you a chance to interact with the Veterans and hear first hand their amazing stories of courage during WWII. Treat yourself to a few days of a special, worthwhile vacation and COME JOIN US. It's a memory you will cherish for a lifetime. If you can attend and also bring your 17th Trooper it would be an added blessing. 

Some of the special events that will be included at the reunion include:

- Candlelight Memorial Service - Wednesday - In the tradition of the Memorial Service held at every 17th Airborne reunion, the Scions memorial service recognises the losses suffered by each unit of the 17th as well as those troopers who have passed on in the previous year.

- Trooper Open Microphone - At various times during our gathering, troopers who wish to tell a story about their experience can have an opportunity to speak to the group

Displays of 17th Airborne memorabila and documents

-  Sing along with Isaac Epps

Plenty of time to talk with our 17th veterans and fellow Scions

-  Airborne Living Historians represent the 507th H
    (see details in this newsletter)

-  Local TV station WGAL will also be stopping by to film the gathered      veterans for the evening news

-  And of course, the ever popular......Military Bingo !!!

Please refer to the following for all of the details. Remember the area is a busy tourist attraction all year round so call and reserve your roomby Feb. 10th, 2013. A major credit card will hold your room - you will not be charged until the reunion is over and you always have 48 hours prior to the start date of the reunion to cancel if you have to. Make sure you mention you are a part of the 17th Airborne Group when reserving.
  Since March 24th falls over the Easter holiday in 2013, the dates of the Reunion will be Sunday March 10, 2013 to Thursday March 14th 2013. Once again, the Steamboat has offered us a FABULOUS package deal! The daily room rates are $98.78 for a single, $138.79 for a double, $178.80 for a Triple, and $218.81 for a Quad. This price INCLUDES your Room, Breakfast and Dinner in Huckleberry's Restaurant located on the main floor of the Inn, Taxes and Gratuities. All who have attended in the past know that the food, served family style, is delicious and plentiful! A private Hospitality Room is provided for us for our entire stay.  PLEASE MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BY CALLING DIRECT AT 1-717-299-9999 OR 1-800-922-2229. MAKE SURE YOU MENTION YOU ARE WITH THE 17TH AIRBORNE GROUP WHEN YOU CALL SO THAT YOU ARE GIVEN THE PACKAGE DEAL.
17th Airborne Sales Items
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.
Coming soon........  Scions Coffee Mugs !
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 artillary coordinates, and much more. 8.5" x 14". Great reading. Currently available in hard copy for a donation of $22 to cover copying and shipping.  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.
We also have additional Scion patches identical to those included in the packages sent to new members. 
A $ 25.00 donation requested for each hat.
The Patches are 3.5" H x 3" W and are available for $2.00 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
Coming soon.... Scions coffee mugs!! Details and a photo will follow when they arrive!! Also having a sample hoodie and T-shirt made up. We will have them in time for the Lancaster, PA reunion

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

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)"

Within the next few months , the Scions will have a website up and running. 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. Will be communicating the details of our website, when it is made active. 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) - President
Michele Smith, daughter of Bill Smith (466th) - Vice President
Ed Siergiej Jr, son of Edward J. Siergiej (194th) - Sec./Tres.

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)
From Jackie Garnon, daughter of Willard Fiddler, 194th GIR & 325th GIR

Enclosed please find my dues for 2013. I am the daughter of Staff Sergeant – later Master Sergeant, Willared Fiddler.
 He is still alive, living in Erie, PA.  He will be 88 on March 7
Thanks for all  you are doing!
By the way, our youngest son is an 82nd Airborne Combat Medic. My dad was able to attend our son’s graduation at Ft. Benning in 2011, and pin his wings onto his grandson!!

From Janice Wilson

  My father-in-law, Robert L. Wilson served with the 464th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, which was assigned to the 17th Airborne for Operation Varsity, during which he became part of the first artillery airborne outfit to land, reassemble and fire their howitzers east of the Rhine River. As a historian at Penn State, my husband, Philip, helped Robert research and write a first-person description of his WWII service in a book published in 2005 titled A Paratrooper’s Panoramic View. Sadly, we lost Robert in November of 2008. Until his health failed, he very much enjoyed travelling to share his story and attend paratrooper reunions.

  To help us and the Scions perpetuate his story and as part of the legacy of the 17thAirborne, we would like to offer to have copies of Robert’s book available that we could share at the upcoming Operation Varsity gathering on March 10-14. We live fairly close to Lancaster, PA (about a 40 minute drive), so we can easily transport the books to the Steamboat. While this book is available through the AuthorHouse web site and through, we could bring the copies that we already have and would offer them to the attendees at a reduced rate ($10 each).

Please let us know if this idea might be of interest to your gathering. We look forward to hearing from you.

Editors reply:

Hi Janice,
Thanks for your note. You would be most welcome to bring the books to the Lancaster reunion. There are so few first hand books about the 17th. We will look forward to seeing you at the Lancaster reunion.
Ed Siergiej Jr

Hi Ed, 
  I have attached 2 photos of Private 1st Class LeRoy Christianson. He was a resident of Bemidji, Minnesota and is buried there. Thank you for the offer of attending your reunion, I actually live only 35 miles from Lancaster. I have a friend who was a pilot of a C-47 that did a double Glider Pull for Varsity, would he be welcome also if he can attend? If you can send me the information for the reunion I will see if it works with my schedule, I am going to Arizona the middle of the month, this is where I met Pvt. Christianson's brother Burt. Burt passed away 2 months ago and I am in contact with his family through his widow. When I see her in March I will see if the family would be interested in being on the mailing list.
Thanks you so much,
Edward Milford

Hi Buren,
Thanks for getting in touch with us. We exist to honor you, and all the veterans of the 17th. If you will send me your addess and phone #, I will add you to our roster. I am also adding you to the distribution list for our electronic newsletter, "Thunder From Heaven", and will send you the most recent issue. We hope that you will enjoy them. With your permission, I will include your note in the "mail call" section of the newsletter. Thanks for getting in touch. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Ed Siergiej Jr

From Cindi Gang, daughter of Curt Gadd (513 / D)

Tampa airport got a new USO club in August and I volunteer there, helping soldiers and their families as they travel. One of our volunteers is designing a program for people to be able to write a tribute to a veteran OR active duty soldier, and we used dad's service for the template. This tribute board idea is going to be shown as an interactive power point on a big hi-def touch-activated screen in the USO club. It will show these tributes on a rotating basis, but you will be able to go up to the screen at any time and touch it to activate an alphabetical guide to all of the soldiers listed, and scroll right to your veteran to read the tribute. The system is being designed here in the Tampa USO club, and the designer is hoping to take it global to all of the USO clubs worldwide, and possibly into the veteran's hospitals as well.
Still taking baby steps with it though, but I am helping to reach out to all of the local veteran's groups to present the idea.

Recently, Scion Peter Schleck found this 17th Uniform on ebay and was able to purchase it. The trooper who owned this jacket has not been identified at this time.

Scion Paul Madden has also purchased a Bronze Star and other medals that belonged to Trooper Lee Bauman.

Thanks Peter and Paul for getting these items back into the 17th family.

Sick Call

Joe Quade (PM)

Since I mentioned in my Christmas letter which I sent to many of my Airborne friends that I was going to have an operation in January I have received many messages asking how I was. The fact is that the operation has been postponed to March. Would it be possible to make a small mention to that effect in the next newsletter?

Joe Quade

Editors Note: Everyone in the 17th Airborne family wishes Joe our best wishes for a successful operation, and speedy recovery. Joe has also prepared his 17th Archives for transfer to the Scions, including a complete set of the hard copy "Thunder From Heaven" newsletter. We thank Joe for his generosity.



Charles Beckwith (466th / C)

Charles Morgan Beckwith, Jr. age 86, died Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at Tidelands Community Hospice House.
Born in Plainfield, NJ, he was a son of the late Estelle and Charles Morgan Beckwith, Sr. Mr. Beckwith was a U.S.
Army WWII veteran. He received a Presidential Citation and was in the last combat jump into Germany in March of 1945. He was a member of the 101st, 82nd and 17th Airborne Division. He was an avid golfer and worked for several golf courses along the Grand Strand. Mr. Beckwith was a lifetime member of VFW, the Moose Lodge, the Elks Lodge and a member of the American Legion. He retired in 1988 from Gannett Newspapers with 47 years of service.
Survivors include his wife Sharon Walker Beckwith of Surfside Beach; four sons, Charles M. Beckwith, II of NJ, E. James and wife Linda Beckwith of CT, Christopher and wife Debbie Beckwith of NJ and Brian Beckwith of NY; three daughters, Deborah and husband James Marsh of FL, Kimberly Beckwith McGuire of NJ and Linda Marshall of PA; nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and a brother, Albert Beckwith and wife Harriotte of OH.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 AM Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at Goldfinch Funeral Home, Beach Chapel with Father Johnbosco Duraisamy officiating. Burial will be held in Metuchen, NJ.
An online guestbook is available at
Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Hospital of SC, 109 Bee St. Charleston, SC 29401.
Goldfinch Funeral Home, Beach Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.
Stephanie Hudica

Wife of George Hudica (155th)

Stephanie (Sallie) Hudicka passed away Feb. 10th in Doylestown Hospital  She was 85 years of age.
She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lopuszanski who are both deceased.  Also   predeceases by four brothers,  Joseph, John, Stephan and Michael and two sisters Mary and Helen.
She is survived by her husband George of 58 years . One son Michael and his wife Julie and two grand children Lauren and Brent
She spent many day and nights with Father Bob going thru the telephone directories looking up names that sound like Ukrainium or Slovaks helping Father getting  the church started..
She was the Sec and Tres. of the ladies Assoc.  for quite a few years giving it up after the 25th Anniversary of the church 
We would like to take time to thank the nurses and aids that took care of her while at the Manor,  and  the  nurses  in Doylestown  Hospital for their care and patience with my wife these past three  weeks
Services will held Feb 14 th in St Anne Ukainium Catholic church in Warrington. Viewing will be from 9:30 to 10.30 AM followed by mass.  .  
In lee of flowers donations can be made to St. Anne Ukrinium Catholic church or Neshaminy Manor and the Diabetic Assoc. in her name.... 
Howard Huebner (507 / C)

Life member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

Howard Robert Huebner passed away on February 8, 2013. Howard was born in Saginaw, MI on May 19, 1923. He moved to Leesburg, FL in 1993. He served in the Army during WWII with the 507 P.I.R. of the 82nd Airborne. He enjoyed fishing in Douglas Lake in Pellston, MI and hunting with his nephews. Howard is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty; daughter, Pamela Steadman of Marathon, FL; son, Roger of Deltona, FL; and grandchildren, Cara, Joshua and Jeremy Huebner, all of Deltona; sisters-in-law, Irlette Huebner, Joanne Huebner of Saginaw; and brother-in-law, Milton Dabbert of Marathon. He was predeceased by five brothers, Roland, Clarence, Delbert, Carl, and Wilbur, two sisters, Viola Walk and Arloa Dabbert, grandson, Shaun Smith. Howard retired from the Saginaw City School District as head carpenter. He was a former member of Faith Lutheran Church, transferring to Gloria Dei Lutheran in Leesburg. Cremation by the National Cremation Society of Fruitland Park, FL. A Military Funeral will be held at a later date at Bushnell National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL.

Frank A. Dell (193 MD)

Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association
(October 31, 1923 - January 9, 2013)
Frank A. Dell age 89 of Hampstead, Md. died Wednesday Jan. 9, 2013 at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore, MD. as a result of an automobile accident on December 5, 2012.
Born Oct. 31, 1923 in Carroll County, MD. he was the son of the late Albert K. and Edna Giggard Dell. He was the husband of 65 years to Doris Schmidt Dell.
He was a self employed artificial cattle inseminator. He was an Army Veteran of WW II and a member of the Westminster V.F.W. He was also a long time member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester, MD. During his military years he served in the 17th Airborne as a paratrooper. He was a combat medic in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium where he saved many lives. He began working with Dr. Irvin Frock a Manchester Veterinarian at age 13. He resumed his association with Dr. Frock after the war, working as a veterinarian technician eventually specializing in the area of artificial insemination, working at farms in the Carroll, Baltimore and Frederick County and Pennsylvania area until his death.
Surviving in addition to his wife are sons: Jeffrey L. Dell and wife Poldi of Centreville Virginia and Randy A. Dell and fiancée Kim of Millsboro, Delaware. Grandchildren: Danielle, Emily, Janie and Joseph Dell, God-daughter: Cathy Walton, Sisters: Ann Vendetta of Hawaii, Flo Cook of Virginia, Mary Bosley, Violet Black and Esther Yingling all of Pennsylvania. Brother: John Dell of Pennsylvania, and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by siblings: Lillian Uhler, Ruth Leese, Dorothy Hastings, June Bumgardner and Melvin Dell.
Funeral services will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 3184 Church St. Manchester, MD. 21102 on Saturday at 11:00am with the Revs. Matthew and Norma Schenning officiating.
Interment in New Lutheran Cemetery, Manchester, MD.
The family will receive friends on Friday from 3-5 and 7-9pm. at the Eckhardt Funeral Chapel P.A. 3296 Charmil Drive, Manchester, MD. or on Saturday from 10:00am until time of service at the church.
If desired donations may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 739, Manchester, MD. 21102.
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Karl M. Ziegler

193 HQ2 & H Co. 194th 81mm Mortar Platoon

Karl M. Ziegler age 88 a life-long resident of Greene Twp., passed away on Thursday February 7, 2013 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Erie on January 16, 1925 a son of the late Michael and Regina Roth Ziegler. He proudly served his country in the 17th Airborne Division of the United States Army during WW II. He served in the European Theatre participating in the Battle of the Bulge and received many awards including the Bronze Star. Karl was a Tool and Die Maker; he previously worked for Rite Precision and retired from Reddog Industries in 1992 after over 40 years of service. Karl was a friend to all and always had an encouraging word. He could fix anything and was a brilliant designer and craftsman. He enjoyed woodworking, tending to his garden and yard and maintaining his classic cars, which he was able to do up until the last few months. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years Marilyn Costanzo Ziegler in 2009 and three brothers; Michael, William and Dennis Ziegler. He is survived by four daughters; Susan Yarnell and her husband David, Elaine Skladanowski and her husband John all of Erie, Carolyn Esterly and her husband Kevin and Kathy Dissosway and her husband Rich all of North Carolina, two sons; Kirk Ziegler and his wife Donna and Paul Ziegler and his wife Marci all of Erie, 16 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and special neighbors, Carol and Ed Pfeiffer and Mark and Brenda Husted. Friends may call at the Russell C. Schmidt & Son Funeral Home Inc. 5000 Wattsburg Rd. Erie, 16504 on Sunday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., and are invited to services there on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. with Rev. John Ohrn officiating. Interment with full military honors will follow in Mount of Olives Cemetery. The family would like to thank the staff and members of Great Lakes Hospice and Kuhl Hose Company for their care and support during this time. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to either Great Lakes Hospice 1700 Peach St. Erie, PA 16550 or Kuhl Hose Co. 3131 Rescue Lane Erie, PA 16509. Please visit to sign the Book of Memories.

Published in the Erie Times-News on February 9, 2013
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