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 # 7 - April 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. & 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 - Melvin Lagoon's trip back to the ETO

-   Trooper John Leather Recieves Static Line Award
     by Isaac Epps

-   St. Clairsville, Ohio Operation Varsity Gathering
    by Nancy Lauria

-   In Honor of Memorial Day
    by Rose Friday

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplains Corner
     by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

-   Scions to Provide Wreaths for 17th MOH Recipients
    by Isaac Epps

-  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:
Trooper Stories:
Melvin Lagoon's Trip Back to the ETO

By Diane Clark (daughter of Melvin Lagoon)

So many days and months of planning came to end so quickly.  When we returned to Boise, Idaho on March 30, 2013, it seemed like just yesterday the plans and research had just begun.  The months of emailing with Gregory de Cock, doing research, asking Dad about his experiences was over and now fond memories.  

In preparation for the trip I had concerns that Dad's stamina would not hold out for such a long journey.  In general, he is a social individual, but otherwise doesn’t stand out in large group situations.  How would he feel with all the expected attention?  He amazed us, and himself I think. He found comfort from all the warmth and friendship he received.  Everyone, everywhere, he was able to relax and enjoy this experience.  In fact, he often surprised us in this comments. He warmed to the occasion and grew with his social skills.

A few comments most memorable; at the Café au Carre in Bastogne Dad was in store for one of his earliest, of many surprises. Sitting with a Belgian beer he told me "it's really warm in here, and I don't mean the temperature".  He was so moved that so many folks came out to give him such a warm welcome to Bastogne. This first surprise was a framed article/photo of him on their Memory Wall.  Another was at the Bastogne Barracks where there also, his photo will hang among the veterans who have returned to Belgium.

Another memorable comment was at the hall in Bastogne, after the reenactors made their march back into town.  As usual, whenever the troops all stood to attention Dad was a little uncomfortable as to what to say or do.  We loved it when he finally figured to have the squad go to 'at ease' then ‘dismissed’ the squad.  This brought a laugh to everyone and even he was comfortable – “I’m just a private, I didn’t give the orders I just carried them out.”

Ed Siergiej Jr., John and Jeff Schumacher told us we were in for an emotional journey.  They told us Dad’s needs would be a high priority on everyone’s thoughts and any needs would be met. They could not have been more right.  Everyone was so gracious, so thoughtful!

When we saw the schedule we saw many days marked with a SURPRISE and wondered what they all might be.  After the Peace Garden, my brother Donald Lagoon noted that a hanky was warranted and handy whenever they were on the agenda in the future. The emotional swings, the proud moments, were many.

The visit to the American Monument and Cemetery in Luxembourg moved Dad the most. During this visit he laid a yellow rose at the graves of 31 fellow 193rd GIR troopers.  Here he read a personal letter from Anne Luallen to her father, Second Lieutenant Leslie Telesca, who was KIA January 7, 1945.  Afterwards he said a few personal words and laid a special bouquet of roses to this special officer.  The gifts of a flag and Luxembourg Friendship Medal of Honor were very special, especially since we were able to bring the same gifts to give to Anne in honor of her Father’s sacrifice. 

We were warned to pack light and be prepared to go home with a full suitcase. Oh they were SO RIGHT.  Dad has so many special gifts and fond memories of the trip. For all the special gifts we have tried to reach out to everyone who gave something special and thank each individually.  We hope we didn’t miss anyone – we thank you all and apologize if we did.

Of the personal gifts his jump boots are very special to Melvin - he was so proud of earning them so many years ago and he is happy to once again show them off with honor. A few of his special gifts are: his medals, flags, a special personal gift/letter and his airborne bracelet (which has not been off since he got it).

It was amazing to see the people have not forgotten the Allied Forces.  Everywhere people were warm, gracious, and appreciative to Dad. There are so many monuments to remember the liberation brought so many years ago.  These are just a few specific to the 17th Airborne Division in Hosingen, Houffalize, and Bertogne.

The research of the 193rd that Greg did was incredible.  His passion for history showed in our many tours of the sites where the 17th Airborne fought both during the Battle of the Bulge and landed in Operation Varsity.  We explored the battlefields, followed the paths of attack, and the lines of the Dead Man’s Ridge Walk.  We saw the tree lines, the open fields, and even some fox holes.  We even took the vans to some of these actual sites – and yes, we are stick in the mud.  No worries, a little muscle and determined driving skills got us out in time for dinner {wink… sorry Greg}.

Near Wesel we found the site of the E194 GIR landing zone.  Dad said it looked and felt right, just as he recalled it back in 1945.  As it turned out, we were just down the canal and across the ‘new highway’ from where John Schumacher found his LZ for D194 GIR last year.

As to other feelings Dad is still quiet.  I think the overall event was so overwhelming he still has a hard time grasping its reality and remembering all the different activities and places we went in such a short amount of time.  The snow and cold made it much more realistic than if it had been a fine spring day.  That was what he remembered in 1945 and often shared with everyone, "that everyone could appreciate what the soldiers went through then".   It was cold; rarely did we see the temperatures above 3-5 degrees Celsius (high 30 F most days).

There were special moments sharing history or remembering those friends who didn’t make it home to loved ones.  We were also blessed to also be able to share many special times with the family of Lt John Caskey, John and Janet.

We were also very pleased to represent the Scions and the 17th Airborne in official capacities.  On behalf of the Scions, Ed Siergiej had sent to me honorary certificates to the Scions.  These we presented to St Joseph’s School and 4th grade teacher Mr. Jean-Marie Body.  Dad enjoyed any visits with children and this one challenged him with the class asking very good questions about his army life.

On other occasions we were proud to carry the guidon of the 17th Airborne 2nd Battalion 193rd E Company.  The Tony Heigl Family had kept the spirit of the 193rd with this guidon for years.  Now it seemed a good time for it to pass to good hands.  Cindy sent the guidon to Melvin Lagoon to bring over to Belgium.  At the opening ceremonies for the Dead Man’s Ridge Walk we handed it over to Laurent Olivier, the President of the 17th Airborne organization.  He was very moved at this gift and promised to always honor and respect it.  Already his promise has been fulfilled by proudly displaying the guidon.

The country and buildings were much as Dad had recalled.  It gave him comfort that his recollections especially finding the enlisted men’s club and the home he lived in during Occupation Duty in Mulheim, Germany.  Even the farm buildings and country side still looked the same as he remembered.

The 101st Airborne Belgium Friendly organization is an incredible group.  The vast respect they have for the veterans is incredible.  Their wealth of history and desire to preserve the history of the often forgotten 17th Airborne is inspiring.  For all of them, and their network of support – Thank You.  To anyone who has a desire to join them in the future you will be hosted with a silver platter that has a gold plated edge.

For all of us - EVERYONE made it such a memorable trip.  The warmth and gratitude was comforting and amazing. Those feelings are the ones Dad mentions most frequently when he is asked about the trip.  Something he said, just the other day about those feelings was "That the amount of gratitude shown makes me feel like we did the right thing so many years ago. Going over and fighting did make a difference."

These thoughts come from the heart and only briefly capture the whole experience.  My brother, Donald Lagoon, created a blog to follow the day-to-day events – you can get a deeper perspective of the journey from Don’s journals.

John Leather Receives Award

By Isaac Epps

The 2013 Static Line All Airborne Awards Festival was held for the 37th year this month in Atlanta. It gives an opportunity for all airborne Troopers from all units and all conflicts to gather for fellowship. The event also gives the opportunity for each unit to send a representative to receive the Man of the Year award.

  Wednesday, April 6 saw attendees arriving and getting together in the hospitality room. The Don Lassen 82nd Airborne Chapter hosts the Festival, and as an honorary member, I was put to work helping with the details.

  Thursday there was a moving Memorial Luncheon, and we were given an opportunity to stand and offer the name of an Airborne Trooper to honor. I spoke up for Sid Laufer and Charlie Beckwith.

  Later that night, our 17th Airborne Man of the Year John Leather (194) arrived with his son Steve and stepson George Kline.
  Early Friday the group traveled by bus to Fort Benning for the annual Memorial Service, Airborne demonstration, Bar-B-Q lunch, and trip to the National Infantry Museum.
  Cold weather and the threat of rain shortened the Memorial Service; but the wreath-laying Ceremony did take place; and John was chosen to represent the Veterans in that effort.

  After lunch we traveled to the museum. At the end of our time there the staff held a special ceremony to honor the 4 WWII Veterans who were in our group. Many kind words of praise and thanks came from the staff, who were clearly honored to see these heroes, and John is certainly one of them.

  Saturday night's Banquet was a dress-up affair. Cuts in the military budget kept the 82nd Airborne Chorus and a lot of the brass from Ft. Benning from making their usual appearances. One very prestigious guest did attend, and gave a stirring speech praising past and present Airborne achievements, honor, and pride.
  That man was 3 Star General Daniel B. Allyn, Commander of the 18th Airborne Corps. In his speech, he noted that he heard there was a WWII Gliderman in attendance; and you could tell how honored he felt to be in that company.
  When Staff Sergeant John Leather rose, in uniform, and went forward to represent the 17th and receive the award, all in attendance stood and applauded . General Allyn came down from the head table to personally thank John for his service and to assist Col. Troy Gilleland in the presentation of this honor.

  I know I was proud to stand there, and I know Steve and George were also. Afterwards, John had his picture taken so many times he said, "I'm 'bout to go blind!" The group then retired to the hospitality room, where John held court well into the night.

  Sunday morning saw everyone saying goodbye to old and new friends and promising to return next year. This event is a special opportunity to honor all Airborne Veterans. It is true that it always falls right between the Lancaster and Clairesville reunions; but any effort to get there would be well worth it. Next year the Festival will be April
St. Clairsville, Ohio Operation Varsity Gathering

by Nancy Lauria
It was great to see everyone at the April St. Clairsville, Ohio Varsity Reunion.  We were a small group but certainly had a good time. 

This year Joe Conway brought his wife, Amber, and stayed overnight.  Joe brought many WWII artifacts for us to see.  Ralph Peeters from the Netherlands was unable to join us this year.

As in the past Roland Lane and his wife Julie joined us.  Roland is a retired teacher from Columbus, Ohio, and is very interested in hearing stories about WWII.  He does a video interview with each veteran. Someday he hopes to write a book.

George Kline brought the DVD of the Airborne Award Dinner in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Congratulations to John Leather for receiving an Award. 

This year we had cocktail hour at 5:00 P.M. before our Memorial Dinner at Undo's Restaurant.  Col. Korman made day and night drop
"SCION - R-As."  Rose and I made "Blue Tangos".  Needless to say we were very happy on our way to dinner. 

After dinner we surprised Joe Conway with a birthday cake.  It takes 54 lit candles to set off the smoke alarm in the Hospitality Room.



by Rose Friday
WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL WEBSITE HONORS OUR FATHERS (and others who served in or participated in WWII.)
The website is:
Note: The website’s address contains two little i’s, not II, in “wwii.”
You may already know that there is this amazing website that is maintained by the National World War II Memorial people. It contains a “Registry of Remembrance,” where you can register individuals, who either served in the military, or contributed on the Home Front. Each individual is given a separate one-page listing. All of the listings live in their computer website, and can be accessed by anyone visiting the website, by merely searching for the person’s name.
Everyone who participated in WWII is eligible to be included in the Registry. Veterans can summit a listing themselves, or anyone else can submit an entry on any veteran, whether you know the person or not.
A “listing” is an entire page on the individual, describing what they did during WWII. The listing can be whatever you would like it to be - - - a few words, a few sentences, or a few paragraphs. Your listing can also include a photograph of the person you are honoring. If you do not submit a photo, they put a picture of the WWII Memorial in its place instead.
There is no cost to submit a written entry. It is entirely free. To include a photograph, the cost is $10. It is very worthwhile to include a photo. Nowadays making a copy of a photo is simple. Walgreens, Kinkos, and other stores have photo departments that have a scanning machine. The machine looks like it only processes digital photos, but it also has a scanner that is enclosed in a drawer. It is not obvious, so just ask for help. I am mostly familiar with Walgreen’s, and the clerks there will take the time to help you. Bring them any original photograph, of any size, and Walgreens  can scan it and print a 4x6 copy for about 30 cents. Do not mail original photos to the WWII registry, as they can not return photos to you.
You can submit your entry by mail or online. The Registry supplies a form for you to complete and submit for your entry. The form contains the basic information, but is very minimal, and somewhat confusing.  You are permitted to include an additional “attachment page,” with as much information about the person as you care to include. I recommend doing that. I find it to be far simpler to just type out your entry on an attachment page, and submit that as well as the official page that contains just the person’s name, etc.
You can include as much as you actually know about the veteran: Where they received their training, what battles they participated in, what medals they received, etc.  Or, you can merely state that they served in the US Army in the 17th Airborne Division. Several organizations have already submitted brief entries on people who were killed in action. Other local organizations have submitted entries on all of their veterans.
 Our goal as Scions should be to have an entry for EVERY person who served with the 17th AB. This is a free service, and the records will be maintained into the future for others to see. First, let’s start with making sure our own fathers are listed. And, then, we can take on lists of the others who served with the 17th AB. Also, it is possible to have more than one entry on each individual. So, for instance, if your veteran has already submitted an entry and it is very brief, you are permitted to submit another entry, and you can include all that you want. It seems to me that many of the veterans were very humble in listing what they did, so you might help with that and do your own entry on them.
The WWII Registry is a beautiful site, and a great way to acknowledge what our fathers did. It takes only a short while to do, and you will feel so proud to have your loved one included in the registry. So, let’s get busy and get to work!
ANY Veteran wanting to be included, please contact me, Rose Friday, and I will either take care of your entry, or find another Scion to do it. You can telephone me or email me. Whatever is easiest for you.
          Rose Friday:   (412) 731–1367
Also, ANY Scion who would like to do this, and doesn’t fully understand what I am trying to describe, please just contact me, and I will help you. Let’s just do what we need to do, to honor as many of our Veterans as we can. They deserve it!!
I will provide a list of some of our Veterans who already have a listing in the Registry. Look up some of these entries to get an idea of what to include in your own entry.  To search the Registry, it asks for the person’s name and hometown. For their name, do not include their middle initial when doing a search. The Registry doesn’t recognize the middle initials, and it will say that “no match was found,” even if the person does have a listing. However, knowing a person’s middle initial will help you to be able to pick them out of the listings, as often there are people with the same or similar names.
Go to the World War II Registry website and look up these people:
John G. Kormann                     Chevy Chase, MD
Joseph H. Quade                      Montville, NJ
Edward J. Siergiej                    Danbury, CT
William K. Tom                          Isleton, CA
James S. Lauria                        Buffalo, NY
Norman P. Schmid                    McKees Rock, PA
Earl K. Cavanah                        Independence, MO
Edward W. Friday, Jr.                Pittsburgh, PA
James W. Foster                       Princeton, WV
John W. Leary                           Staten Island, NY
Charles R. Stinchcomb            Monkton, MD
George Hudicka                        Nesquehoning, PA
Michael Rock                             Nesquehoning, PA and Toms River, NJ
Robert William Schleck            Elizabeth, NJ
John F. Magill, Jr.                      Millerstown, PA

Welcome 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.

Robert Readinger, Jr
son of Robert Readinger, 194/D

Gary L. Wade
son of William O. Wade, 513/G

Donald Lagoon
son of Melvin Lagoon, 193/E, 194

Thomas E. Lynch
son of William Lynch, 193rd & 194th

Peter P. Lynch
son of William Lynch, 193rd & 194th

Rosemary L. Dillon
daughter of William Lynch, 193rd & 194th

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. Thank you in advance for stepping up here.

Scions to Provide Wreaths for
17th Medal of Honor Recipients

by Isaac Epps & Ed Siergiej Jr
  One of the initiatives that was adopted at our annual business meeting in Arlington, Virginia this past November was to provide wreaths for the Medal of Honor Recipients each year on Memorial Day. Scion Chaplain Isaac Epps will coordinate this project. Isaac has contributed the following about the project:

  The origins of what we now call Memorial Day took place during the Civil War, when Southern women would gather to put flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed "Decoration Day" on May 5, 1868, as ceremonies were held to honor Union and Confederate soldiers buried in Arlington Cemetery.

  This year, that sacred day will be Monday, May 27. The Scions will start an effort that we plan to make a tradition.

  The three Medal of Honor Recipients from the 17th Airborne who are buried in the US will have a wreath placed at their graves by Scions volunteers.
  Judy Foster Holland, daughter of Jim "Porkchop" Foster (194/C) will place the wreath to honor Clinton Hedrick (194/I), in the North Fork Memorial Cemetery, Riverton, WV.
   George Kline, stepson of John Leather (194/F) will escort John and his family on Friday, May 24, to place the wreath honoring Isadore Jachman (513/B), at the Adahs Israel Congregation Cemetery, in Dundalk, MD.
  Mike Martinez, son of Adolph Martinez (513/C) will place the wreath to honor Stuart Stryker (513/E), at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, in San Bruno, CA.
  The fourth recipient, George Peters (507/G) is buried at Margraten Cemetery, in the Netherlands. Our friends with the Margraten Memorial Group will honor him.
 Anyone who is able to attend one of these ceremonies can contact me at, and I will coordinate with the wreath layers as we get closer to the date and their schedules are set.
The information as to where these events will occur is listed below. Special thanks to Judy, George and Mike for coming forward to make this happen.

Clinton Hedrick
North Fork Memorial Cemetery
Germany Valley Road
Riverton, WV

Isadore Jachman
Adahs Israel Congregation Cemetery
6843 German Hll Road
Dundalk, MD
Section 1 Row 8 Grave 40
Stuart Stryker
Golden Gate National Cemetery
1300 Sneath Lane
San Bruno, Calif.
Section B  Grave 719

Thanks to those who have become members of the Scions. Because of you, we have the funds to reimburse the expenses needed to provide these wreaths.
by Rose Friday

    May is Memorial Day month, and this special day will soon be upon us. Does your local town or city have a Memorial Day celebration?  Are you interested in connecting with other Scions or Veterans in your geographical area? Why not attend your local event together, on behalf of the Scions?

  There are Scions and Veterans all across the country.  Although our membership numbers are still growing, we have members in many states.         
  If you would like to know if there are other Scions or Veterans in your area, please contact Rose, and I will help to connect you with others.
   If you attend a Memorial Day celebration on behalf of the Scions, please send us a photo!

   If you have any questions, please contact Scion President Rose Friday at: (412) 731–1367     Or email to:
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, including 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.

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!
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 is requested for each hat.

The 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.
Coming Soon - Talon magazines 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 one issue published before deployment to Europe, and one issue published in France after the war ended. We have scanned these issues, and combined them on one CD, so that they can be made available to our membership. It is thanks to those who have donated some of these materials and to our members for their support that we have the funds to put this package together!

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).

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)
John Schumacher Award
By Isaac Epps
A special ceremony took place at this year's Bill Smith 17th reunion at Lancaster.

  The French government has made the Knight of the Legion of Honor medal available in an effort to honor WWII Veterans who fought to help liberate France. It is the highest such honor that they award.

  John Schumacher (194D) went through the process to qualify for this award, and when it came through, he had a choice of how to receive the medal. He chose to have the decoration made at Lancaster, and so on Monday, March 11, Colonel John Kormann read the citation and pinned the medal on John. He vowed to wear it proudly with dignity and to represent all the 17th Airborne Division.

  Any WWII Veteran can go through the process to qualify for this award. There is a form to be filled out and sent in, along with a copy of discharge papers.

  Anyone interested can contact me for information at (678) 951-6542 or

  Thank you, John, for choosing to receive this honor with your 17th Family.
From Marty Cavanah, son of Earl Cavanah, 193/194


Enclosed is a check to pay for my yearly dues and copies of the “Operation Varsity” report. Please use the remaining funds for your expenses in managing the Scions organization.  I want to thank you and others who have devoted time and effort in this project.  I enjoy hearing about the contribution that the 17th AB played in helping to defeat Nazi Germany. 

Dad is currently in an assisted living facility with difficult health issues, but he remains happy and upbeat every day.  He is still able to get out with our assistance but is in a wheel chair now.  I showed him the Facebook page of the Scions yesterday, and he enjoyed it. 

Keep up the great work and if I can be of any assistance do not hesitate to ask.  Dad knows your dad from the reunions and speaks highly of him.
Editors reply: 

Hi Marty,

Thanks very much for the renewal of your membership, the purchase of some of our items, and for your generous donation to support the Scions. Your donation will be used toward the purchase of the next batch of Challenge Coins so that we can be in a position to give them to any veterans who want them.

If it would help your dad, we can have a hard copy of the newsletter mailed to him. One of our Scions has volunteered to do this each month for the veterans who no longer use these darn gadgets computer. We will keep your dad in our prayers. Please let us know how he is doing.

From Johan Aronsen

Dear all!

Thanks to Lilly and all of you!  Thanks to John Kormann for thoughful words.

Is it possible one of you can help me?   My mothers uncle left Norway to
find a better life in the USA. Hes name was Haakon Skjolsvik but he changed it to Harry Stone and decided to join the 507 Parachute Infantry Regiment 17 Airborne Division USA and was wounded by shots and later died. This was 3/25/45. Lilly have for some years ago send me picture of the grave and where our Haakon/Harry is buried. We never forget the help we got to find out where Haakon ended up. My grandmothers family received a telegram long time after he was killed and our local newspaper wrote about in august 1945. We have no information about Harry/Haakon during his stay in the 507 so if anybody have something I will be very, very grateful.

Best wishes from Norway

Mr Johan R Aronsen

Editors Note: Anyone with information on Harry Stone, 507th, Co E, please contact the Scions at

At the Lancaster PA Operation Varsity reunion in March, Scion Warren Lucas, son of Luke Lucas asked me if I could locate a photo of his dad that had been published in the hard copy "Thunder From Heaven" newsletter. Warren guessed that the photo was published sometime after 1988. Starting from that date, I began looking for the photo in question, showing Luke holding a dog while sitting on a vehicle with a captured German Flag. The photo was found in the "Winter 1993" issue of TFH and is shown above.

Ed Siergiej Jr - Editor

Sick Call

Joe Quade PM

  Joe Quade would like to let everyone know how much he appreciates all the well-wishes and get well cards he received following his medical procedure.
  He had a valve installed in his heart and a pacemaker installed as well. He reports that he is following doctors' orders and getting better every day.
  Thanks to everyone for their prayers and input for Joe and Suzi.
  Joe can be reached at:

4 Cain Court
Montville, NJ 07045


Kenneth Cavanah
193 HQ2
Ken was a LIFE member of the 17th Airborne Divsion Association. He attended 19 reunions, the last one in Hampton, VA  in 2007

Earl Kenneth Cavanah, 88, of Independence, MO, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 21, 2013 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his daughter, Marilynn and her husband Jerry Jackson; son, Marty and his wife Cindy Cavanah; grandchildren, Jennifer and husband Matthew Holding, Sam Jackson, David and his wife Shelby Cavanah and Katie Cavanah; great grandchildren Marlee and Elia Holding, Macey Cavanah; a sister, Ruth Stevenson; sister-in-law, Betty Cavanah and a special friend, Paula Jones. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor Cavanah, a brother, Gail Cavanah, brother-in-law, George Stevenson and sister-in-law, Charlotte Harris.

Kenny was born Nov. 11, 1924 in Independence, MO and was a lifelong resident graduating from William Chrisman High School in 1942. He proudly served in the US Army during WWII with the 17th Airborne Glider Infantry where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and later crossed the Rhine River in a glider during Operation Varsity. After the war he began a 38 year career with Southwestern Bell Telephone. He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers Club, American Legion Post #21, VFW, Civil War Round Table and the 17th Airborne Veterans Club. He married the love of his life, Mary Eleanor Carlson who was a 1947 Santa-Cali-Gon queen. They shared 52 years of marriage and devotion to one another and their family. Kenny is a perfect example of the Greatest Generation and was blessed with many friends and loved ones. He never met a stranger and could make anyone feel special. He had a wonderful smile and sense of humor that will always be remembered by those who knew and loved him. Cremation with a memorial service at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 26, at the First Christian Church 125 S. Pleasant St., Independence, MO 64050. Internment with full military honors to follow in Mt. Washington Cemetery. Visitation 10:00 a.m. until service time Friday at the church. Donations to either the First Christian Church of Independence or to the American Legion Post #21 16701 E. US 40 Highway, Independence, MO 64055. Online condolences may be expressed at (Arr: Speaks Suburban Chapel Speaks Suburban Funeral Home, 18020 E 39th St, Independence, MO 64051, 816-373-3600

Published in Kansas City Star on April 24, 2013
Susan Stith

Daughter of Levert L. Smith (194 C) & Sister of Robert L. Smith

Susan Christine Smith, of Glen Allen, Va., widow of Max Dalton Stith, died March 27, 2013. She is survived by her sister, Mary Alleta Smith Pannill; her brother, Robert Lee Smith; and relatives in North Carolina and South Carolina. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her father, Levert Lindell Smith Sr.; her mother, Geneva Littlefield Smith; her brother, Levert Lindell Smith Jr.; and by her brother-in-law, H. Burnell Pannill. Mrs. Stith was born in La Grange, N.C., on January 2, 1930. She grew up in La Grange and Goldsboro, N.C., where she graduated from high school in 1947. While at Goldsboro High, she served as a marshall and was named to the National Honor Society and the Quill & Scroll Society. While a student at East Carolina College, now University, in Greenville, N.C., she was named a marshall and was listed in "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities," and was an active member of the Teachers Playhouse Drama Group. Susan graduated in 1951 with a major in English and a minor in Library Science. She worked in a library and in advertising before marriage. After she became an Army wife on April 12, 1952, she lived in many different places in the U.S. as well as abroad. When her husband retired from the Army and started a civilian career, Mrs. Stith was a housewife and homemaker in Henrico County, Va., and was an excellent cook. She also enjoyed gardening. Susan was knowledgeable about many subjects and was always an avid speed reader of all types of literature. The funeral arrangements for Mrs. Stith are being handled by Bennett's Funeral Home, 11020 West Broad St., Glen Allen, Va. 23060. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday (today), April 2, at 2 p.m. at the Kenwood United Methodist Church Cemetery, Ashland, Va. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kenwood Cemetery, 11208 Elmont Rd., Ashland, Va. 23005 and/or Hospice.
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