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 # 34 - September 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.
Register For Our Gathering at Arlington National Cemetery
 November 9th and 10th

The cutoff date for reserving a room at the Mariott Courtyard at our special rate is October 11, 2015.
See the information in the newsletter below to register. 

Also, if you are planing to attend this years ceremony we would appreciate it if you would let us know by email or phone. This way we know how many to plan for. 

Please email us at:
Photo from our first gathering in 2011

Scions Veterans Day Ceremonies
Arlington National Cemetery
November 9th & 10th, 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. 
Our accommodations last year Marriott Courtyard Pentagon South were so well received 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 hotel reservations, or call the Marriott at 
1 888 236 2427. Make sure that you tell them you are with the Scions of the 17th Airborne. 
Monday - November 9th, 2015

- 11:00 - Gather at the Marriott Courtyard Lobby for drive to Mount Vernon 
- 11:30 - Carpool to Mount Vernon for a visit to the home of George
   Washington. Adult Tickets are $17 per person

- 3:00 - Check in to Marriott Courtyard Pentagon South begins 
- 4:00 - Hospitality room will be open to greet new arrivals, socialize and
 make plans for dinner. 

- 17th Airborne T-shirts, Hats, and other items will be available for sale in the
  Hospitality room, for those who are interested.

Tuesday - November 10th, 2015

  - Gather at Hotel Lobby for drive to Arlington National Cemetery - 8:00
  - Leave for Arlington by carpool - 8:30 AM
  - Arrive at Arlington by 8:45 AM
  - Ceremony at Arlington 9:15 to 11:45

Note: Those who are not staying at the Marriott and are driving directly to Arlington Cemetery on November 10th should meet our group at the entrance to the cemetery at 8:45 AM. We will have our cars with the 17th Flags lined up on the right side of the cemetery entrance. 

 - Following the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery we plan to travel to the National WWII Memorial as we have done in the past, where we will place a wreath at the Airborne Panel. As parking in this area is very limited, we are looking into the possibility of bus transportation. We will keep those who register for the gathering posted on the details, so please let us know that you are coming by registering by email with the following information

Name _________________________
Number of members in your party _________________
Arrival date __________________
Departure date _______________
Tour of Mount Vernon? Yes_____  No _____
Registered at Marriott Hotel? Yes______ No______
Driving directly to Arlington Cemetery?  Yes_____ No _____

Send your registration to us at: 
In This Newsletter
-  Trooper Stories -  Scions Represented at Cambridge  
                                American Cemetery, U.K.

-   Scions 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:

Scions Represented at Cambridge American Cemetery, U.K.
The 17th Airborne Division family is very fortunate to have friends in many countries, and the U.K. is no exception. Our good friend, Tina Foord represented us at Memorial Day ceremonies at the Cambridge American Cemetery, and presented a beautiful wreath in memory of the 17ths fallen troopers. Tina sent the photos below to us via. Scion president Rose Friday. Many thanks, Tina!
Tina Foord with wreath at the Cambridge American Cemetery,
Cambridge, U.K.
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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.

At this time we have had 93 responses. If you have not yet responded, we encourage you to do so.
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. 
Update: The following Scions have recently volunteered to attend funerals and support our veterans and their families. 

Barbara Tuttle - Virginia
Robert Smith - Virginia
Charlie Jones - Ohio
Terri Gebler - Ohio
Cindy Gang - Florida
Dusty Cornelius - Texas
Sherrie Binkley - Tennessee

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. 

Scion Melanie Sembrat has volunteered to be a member of this committee

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.
Marketing Committee Design New Scions T-Shirt
Our Marketing Committee, Donna "Cooper" Meise and Fred Nothstine have come up with a design for a new Scions T-Shirt that we think everyone will like. Details are in the "Online Store" section of the newsletter, below and also in the Store section of our website. 
 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,

Megan J. Brennan

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.

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 here.  
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

Generous Donations this month have been made by the following:

John H. Heinrich Jr
!!  Welcome New Members  !!

John H. Heinrich Jr
Son of John H. Heinrich 681st / Battery B
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Kathy Gault
Daughter of James W. Jackson (507/I) 
Whiting, NJ 
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 

Robert Readinger Jr, Son of Robert Readinger (194/D)

Edward C Whitmarsh, Son of Edward D Whitmarsh (194/G)

Chaplains Corner
by Isaac Epps

There is a book entitled "A Higher Calling" written by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander. It gives a very detailed account of an incident that took place on Dec. 20, 1943 over the skies of Germany.
  It involves a 20-year-old US B-17 Bomber pilot named Charlie Brown; a farm boy from West Virginia on his first mission; and Franz Stigler, a 29-year-old German flying Ace.
  Stigler's "victories" or enemy kills was at 22--one short of being awarded the Knight's Cross--one of the German Air Force's highest honors.
  The crux of the story is that after a bombing raid over Germany, Brown's bomber was badly shot up and he was trying to get home on one engine--most of his crew killed or wounded, and none of his machine guns working.
  Stigler was standing next to his fighter plane on a German air base when he heard a bomber's engine. He looked up and saw a B-17 flying so low that he thought it was going to land and he quickly took chase and had no trouble catching up with it.
  He moved in behind the bomber for the kill; took aim; and took the trigger--but he hesitated.
  As he would relate later in interviews about this; he stated that he was baffled, because no one was firing at him. Closer inspection revealed dead crewmen, enormous shell holes, and crewmen caring for the wounded.
  He then pulled his Messerschmitt Fighter along side and did something extraordinary. He locked eyes with Brown, whose eyes were wide with shock and horror---and who was certain that he and his plane would be destroyed. The Germain Ace then nodded at Brown; and then decided to change his mission.
  Knowing that if word of this decision got back to German High Command; which it did; and that it would cost him; which it did; he decided on mercy.
  He drew up in close formation with the bomber and escorted her out of German airspace to avoid German artillery fire and over the North Sea to safety. He saluted Brown, tipped his wing, and returned to Germany.
  This story has many layers. Stigler had done his duty so well as a fighter pilot driven by a sense of revenge. His older brother, also a fighter pilot, had been shot down and killed earlier in the war.
  Yet, on that December day; he showed mercy.
  Scholars have described this as a Warrior's Code. It shaped the honor of the Vikings, the Samurai, the Romans, and Native Americans; and clearly Stigler on that day. He later stated that to shoot down that plane would have been murder.
  The Code represents a bond between soldiers who have shared the horrors of battle and war; even without a common language, culture; or even as enemies.
  The story goes on to describe how Charlie Brown made it his mission to find Franz Stigler 40 years after the war. Much searching and effort led to them to finally meet. Their wives became best friends and the two of them became fishing buddies.
  Charlie Brown even arranged a reunion with Stigler; where he brought in all the surviving members of his crew and as many of the extended family that he could find to show Franz Stigler what his act of mercy looked like.
  There was not a dry eye that day--an unmatched story of honor; compassion, mercy and finally closure. Stigler stated in interviews that Charlie Brown had filled in the gap for the loss of his brother August.
  The two of them died within months of each other.
  Our 17th Family knows the story of how Col. Kormann was about to toss a grenade into a farmhouse; but remembered his mother's words about compassion--and clearly saved many civilians by having that instilled in him.
  Finally, the author Makos raised the question as to whether that sort of compassion, mercy, and honor exists in today's world of extreme terrorism, violence, drone strikes, and numbness to killing.
  One would hope so. As it stands, the story of Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler stands as yet another testament to the sense of Dignity and Honor of the Greatest Generation---even sometimes on the "other side".
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!
Ed. Note: Associate Scion Jos Bex is looking for information on the airfields used by the 17th for takeoffs during Operation Varsity.  His request for information is as follows:

Dear all,
Following up my German to English translation of “Die Luftlandung” I am currently preparing my next Op. Varsity book.

This time the subject will be “The 17th Airborne  Op. Varsity Airfields”

I spent the last two  weeks in France researching and photographing all twelve 17th AB  Op. Varsity  airfields, and it was a success! Amazing how much is still there. From accessible and abandoned Op. Varsity airfields to modernised NATO airfields.  But they have all one thing in common; most of them are still there.
Physical evidence is one thing. Another important thing is the stories from those who were actually there.

Hereby I would like to ask you to write down your personal experiences of what was going on around the airfields prior to Op. Varsity.  Stories like how  the home front responded, your buddies, experiences, training and R&R in France etc.  Perhaps you still remember the way you all were housed on and around the bases, how it looked like, how it felt. You were there!!!

Your experiences do matter, not only to pass on the history and the legacy of the mighty 17th Airborne Division.  But history must be told in order to keep it alive to future generations.

Please inform everyone you know and those I can’t reach by email.
The more info I will receive, the better.
Perhaps your dad told you stories about the subject you might remember and you want to share.
Looking forward to hear from you all!!!

For those who rather give me a call:      Send me your phone number and I will call you, OR call me :
0031-263-254-361  or  0031-651-634-487.
E-mail me at:               or
Jos Bex


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. 
Scion Director Robert Smith sent this item about Dr Guy DeGenaro who flew the Varsity Operation as well as the D-Day landing. Dr DeGenaro resides in Richmond, VA. 
My father was Sgt Aubrey Witt, a paratrooper in the 17th,
513th, Company G.
I would be interested in exchanging emails with the families
of anyone in the 513th and especially Company "G".
I'm interested in the actions and movements of Company G
during European operations.
Thank You
Mitchell Witt
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.

Sick Call

No items to report at this time. However please keep the families of those troopers that we have lost recently as well as Michele Smith who recently lost her mother, in your thoughts and prayers.


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
Claude L. Bohannon


Mr. Claude Lacy Bohannon, Jr., 90, of Charlotte, NC, passed away on Sunday, May 31, 2015, at Royal Park Nursing and Rehab Center in Matthews, NC. Claude was born on December 26, 1924 in Forsyth County, NC to the late Claude L. Bohannon, Sr. and Lizzy Bohannon. Claude joined the 17th Airborne Division of the United States Army following graduation from Paratrooper School at Fort Benning, GA. He joined WWII in Europe at the Battle of the Bulge. Claude was deployed into Belgium and later captured and held as a POW by the Germans for several months. Claude was a devoted husband, father and friend and will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. In addition to his parents, Mr. Bohannon was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth “Lib” Bohannon; and two brothers, William C. Bohannon and Jimmy Ray Bohannon. Mr. Bohannon is survived by two sons, Jerry Bohannon and wife, Trish of Winston-Salem and Craig Bohannon and wife, Karen of Charlotte, NC; three grandchildren, Amity Bohannon McNeal and husband, Joe of Chillicothe, Ohio, Jonathan Bohannon of Charlotte, NC, and Zachary Bohannon of Winston-Salem; two great-grandchildren, Jackson and Carson McNeal; one sister, Earlene Welch and husband, William “Buford” of Winston-Salem; and one sister-in-law, Jimmie Bohannon. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at Forsyth Memorial Park. The family will receive friends following the service at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the POW MIA Foundation, 7407 LeGrande Street South, Jacksonville, Florida 32244. Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel is assisting the family of Mr. Bohannon. Online condolences may be made at
Keith "Skip" Merrill


Keith Bartlett Merrill Jr. "Skip", 92, passed away Friday, September 11, 2015, while residing at Thomas Rest Haven, Coon Rapids, Iowa. Skip was born in Des Moines to Keith senior and Rachael Garst Merrill on September 10, 1923. He lived in Des Moines and Spirit Lake as well as Waukee and lately Coon Rapids Iowa.

Skip was an agent/owner of Keith Merrill Agency, retired and served in the Army Medical Corp in WWII and Korea. He was active in the Scottish Rite, Zig-Ga-Zig Shrine, Lion's Club, NRA, Isaac Walton, the Waveland Park Masonic Lodge, and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Ames Iowa. He graduated from Roosevelt High School, Des Moines and Iowa State University, Ames. He very much enjoyed boating, hunting and fishing.

Skip was preceded in death by his daughter, Holli Ann Merrill; his second wife Judith; his third wife Suzanne; his parents, Keith Sr. and Rachael Merrill and two sisters, Ann Merrill Shelby and Gretchen Merrill Wilson. He is survived by his sister, Patricia Merrill Morey of Denton, Texas; his daughter, Michelle Merrill of Santa Barbara, CA., his son Christopher Merrill of Glendora CA; three grandsons, Byron Merrill, Patrick Merrill and Danen Maughan, all of California. Skip is also survived by his five step children Jim and Laurie Jones, Rochelle Stoner Kelly, Thomas Stoner Jr. and Theodore A. Stoner, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. He will be sorely missed by friends and family alike.

Services for Skip will be held at Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, 815 High Street, Des Moines at 1:00 PM, Thursday, September 17, 2015. An informal reception is to follow.

Very special thanks to Thomas Rest Haven and Saint Anthony's Regional Hospice for their exceptional care. Our deepest gratitude to the Garst family and the Morey family who were indispensable to Skip and his family.

Please make any donations in Skip's memory to Thomas Rest Haven, 217 Main St., Coon Rapids, IA. 50058 or St. Anthony's Regional Hospice, 318 Maple St., Carroll, IA 51401. - See more here.

Editors Note: 17th Veteran John J. Schumacher (194/H) represented the 17th Airborne Family at the funeral for Skip Merrill

Dennis E. McGinley



Dennis Earnest McGinley, the son of the late Dennis Dulen and Pearl Ennis McGinley was born August 14, 1924, in Dyersburg, TN.

He was of the Baptist faith. He was a member of the United States Army during World War II and Korea and the National Guard. He retired after 23 years of service.

On November 27, 1943, in Piggott, AR, he was united in marriage to Sue McIntosh. She survives.

Mr. McGinley died July 1, 2015, at his residence in Gideon, MO at the age of 90 years, 10 months and 17 days.

Survivors include his wife, Sue McGinley of Gideon; 3 sons, Dennis McGinley and wife Francis of Clarkton, Stanley McGinley and wife Gina of Gideon, and Kenny McGinley and wife Marenda of Portagevile, MO; 1 daughter, Donna McGinley of Gideon; 3 sisters, Francis Thornton of Gideon, Maggie Freeman of Gideon, and Anna Mae Boyd of Flint, Michigan 8 grandchildren, Dennis McGinley, Bobby McGinley, Nikki Barnes, Erica McGinley, Travis McGinley, Tiffany McGinley, Kaileigh McGinley, and Morgan McGinley; 9 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by 1 grandson, Dewayne Graham; 2 infant grandsons; 4 sisters, Katie Prewitt, Geneva Hollis, Eddie McGinley and Cassie McGinley; and 5 brothers, Charlie McGinley, Raymond McGinley, Max McGinley, Leonard McGinley and Tommy McGinley.

Visitation will be held on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 6:00 P.M. at Bradshaw Funeral Home. Funeral services will held Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. in the chapel with the Reverend Dennis McGinley and Reverend Jack Allen officiating. Burial will be in the Stanfield Cemetery in Clarkton with military rites.

Dr. Hubert W. Miller


Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

Dr. Hubert W. Miller, 97, passed away Sunday, August 23, 2015 in Sarasota, Fl. Predeceased by wife of 52 years Louise Mayfield Anderson Miller (Sarasota resident since 1928). Hubert came to Sarasota in 1936. He was 17th Airborne PM company in WWII; a Chiropractor (Palmer College) for 47 years. He loved to fish. He loved to tell stories. He was loved by all who knew him. He is survived by daughters Mary Lois Miller and Margie (& Mike) Gayle, Sarasota; brother Paul Miller, IL; sisters Hilda Elmore and Annette Wood, AL; many nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues. He will be missed. In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite charity . Service at Sarasota National Cemetery on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM. - See more by clicking here
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.
New Scions Tee Shirts
Our new Marketing Team designed these great new T - Shirts. The shirts are Made in the USA, Preshrunk 100% Cotton with the Scion logo on the front and the back.
Available in sizes    
S, M, L, & XL & 2XL 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 or Black, 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 (680th/HQ)
Paul Madden - son of Harold Madden (680th/A)
Marty Cavanah - son of Earl Cavanah (193rd/194th)
Patty Bowers - daughter of Thomas Miller (193rd/HQ2)

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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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