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 # 11 - August 2013
Please send us your 17th related news items, stories,  questions etc., so that we can share them with the entire group. You may direct your mail to the Scions at:
Ed Siergiej Jr. & Adam Coolong - Editors
Visit our Facebook page at:

17th Airborne Division Scions (Descendants)

Post your 17th related photos, stories and questions.
In This Newsletter
-   Trooper Stories - Operation Varsity Book Ready

-   Article From the Airborne Quarterly
    by Bill Weber

-   Trooper Stories - Czech Re-enactors Tour Bulge area
     by Jos Bex

-  Operation Varsity Statistics
   contributed by Isaac Epps

-   Walk of Honor 
    by Isaac Epps

-   Scions Memorial Fund

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplain's Corner
    by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Completed

-  Scions 2013 Gathering Schedule

-  Jersey Shore Mini-Reunion

-  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:

17th Airborne Division in Operation Varsity
by Jos Bex

The thought of translating the 17th AB part of the  German book called “Die Luftlandung” ( The Airborne landing )  crossed my mind for quite some time.
Many have tried but no one succeeded yet. This challenge gave me the strength to fulfill this job. It gives the veterans, their next of kin and anyone who is interested the chance to â€œget inside” of Op. Varsity.
Making public the  story of the heroic efforts of the troopers and glider men of the 17th Airborne Division during Operation Varsity is a unique way to discover the Operation from both the soldiers point of view as well as the German civilian side. Numerous unique and lively stories  are made public now for the English speakers, told by those who were there.
What about  the sudden appearance, during battle, of a horse drawn Medic cart, loaded with both German and American wounded racing across the belligerent 
parties to a field hospital, driven by both a German and an American Medic….
Or mercy given by  American paratroopers to a German woman pushing her baby-car,  who previously fired at these troopers.
They took her rifle and let her go….
The experiences of frightened German soldiers crouching together with the civilians in their shelters.
How civilians experienced the frightened shelling and later the arrival of the largest single day air armada in human history.
The soldiers’ battle experiences, for some their first and for others their last…..
Get inspired by these unique stories of an Airborne battle that did matter to push the Germans further into their fatherland resulting in ending the war within six weeks.
Buying a copy gives you the opportunity to sponsor the 17th Airborne Scions group financially in their effort to maintain the 17th Airborne legacy going.
Jos Bex

Editors Note: This book is a translation of the book "Die Luftlanding" which was only available in German. Over the years numerous attempts have been made to get the author to allow a translation, with no success. Jos was able to make an agreement with the author, and has devoted many hours to make an accurate translation. Jos has also supplemented the photos in the original book with photos taken recently in the same location. The original book had two sections, one about the 17th Airborne, and another about the British 6th Airborne. This translation is of the portion about the 17th. 
  Details about purchasing this book are provided in this newsletter.
(Ed Siergiej Jr, Editor) 

Article from the Airborne Quarterly

by Bill Weber

The following was written by Col. Bill Weber; who was an honored guest at the Lancaster reunion; and is reprinted with the permission of the Airborne Quarterly.
  In the Summer 2012 issue I told you about the organization known as the SCIONS of the 17th Airborne Division. (Note: Scion can be defined as 'that which springs from', and in this case the offspring of noble warriors---how appropriate when describing airborne troopers!)
  They organized a group consisting of the descendants of the original members of the 17th Airborne Division Association.
  When the 17th Airborne Division Association 'folded tents' several years ago the SCIONS formed an Association to preserve the legacy of the men who served in the 17th. In toto, SCIONS consist of those who were 'prime movers of the Division Association, surviving troopers, widows of deceased troopers and the children and grand-children of 17th Airborne Division WWII troopers. (Note: In my earlier article I suggested that other WWII units that can no longer sustain a viable fraternal association might want to follow the lead of the 17th SCIONS. That's still a good suggestion!)
  The SCION members meet twice a year, in March in central Pennsylvania (Lancaster) and on Veterans Day in Washington, DC. This year I was honored to attend their reunion in Lancaster and I was again convinced they have their act together and are a going and growing fraternal group!
  The second and third generation were by far the dominant group. They outnumbered the surviving veterans in attendance by a three to one margin! The veterans are treated like revered legends, which they are, and the 'organizers' and 'doers' are their descendants. From the efforts of widows, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the legacy of the 17th Abn Div is honored and preserved.
  Of equal importance is the publicity the group generates in the greater Lancaster area. The gathering was the fifth in as many years and the community and news media acknowledges their presence. In short, the 'airborne mystique' is perpetuated!
  The venue, Steamboat Inn, is a top notch hotel and they 'cut the SCIONS a great deal'! Breakfast and Dinner family style are included in the room cost---free Hospitality Suite---and 'Pennsylvania Dutch' friendly treatment! And, to my amazement two of the veterans present were 'decked out' in their original OD Ike Jacket, Jump Boots and bloused trousers---neither looked like they'd gained a pound since March, 1945 and Operation VARSITY!
  Need to mention another 'first' for me. One of the events held by the SCIONS is GI Bingo!! Now, I've been around 87+ years and I never heard of that! Simple Bingo--yes--but GI Bingo????? Just 'maxing' a row won't do--no--you've got to 'max' an 'X' or a 'Z' or an 'N' or a 'Square', or 'bingo' on two cards simultaneously and, in one game the whole damn card!!!
  But, in a way, it was a blast---especially for the ladies present!!
  And now before I digress further---let me get to the story of the coincidence of the Scottish Bonnet! Well, just a mite more transgressing--I really should call it the Glengarry Bonnet. A short history is courtesy of edited Wikipedia.
  The Glengarry bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a torie on top, frequently a rosette cockade on the left side, and with ribbons hanging down behind. It is normally worn as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress, either formal or informal, as a alternative to the Balmoral bonnet or tam o' shanter.
  Traditionally, the 'Glengarry Bonnet' is said to have first appeared as the head dress of the Glengarry Fencibles when they were formed in 1794 by Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry, of Clan MacDonald of Glengarry. The first use of the classic, military glengarry may not have been until 1841, when it is said to have been introduced for the pipers of the 79th Foot by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Lauderdale Maule.
  In 1914, all Scottish infantry regiments were wearing dark blue glengarries in non-ceremonial orders of dress, and the Scots Guards, who wore peaked forage caps or khaki service dress caps--except for the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) who wore them in rifle green, a plain rifle green glengarry up until their disbandment in 1968. (Note: Remember this later in this article!)
  If I had not been there; 'had not seen that'; I'd not believe what follows. We (my wife and I) arrived in the mid-afternoon of the second day of the SCIONS's  gathering. We checked in and hustled down to the Hospitality Suite to report in and get up to speed on what was happening.
  I made the rounds of some old acguaintances, perticularly Joe Quade, who was the Secretary of our USA Airborne 50th Anniversary group of which I was Co-Chairman along with Charlie Pugh of the 517th PIR. Joe and I and our planning group spent many a hectic hour on our 50th---but it was worth every second! I've suggested in the past two issues of the Quarterly that the generations of troopers from RVN and beyond to the present day ought to 'go for a 75th'' guys like Joe and myself are too old and 2015 is still two years hence!
  WHOOPS! Digressed again! We headed to the Dining Room for dinner about 1800 and settled in for a really great meal. At the table one removed from ours was a lady (obviously a 17th trooper's daughter), wearing a green Glengarry Bonnet!!!! I assumed she was of Scottish descent and remarked to Joe that her father must have been Scottish and she was wearing his bonnet in honor of his memory.
  "Not so!" said Joe and proceeded to tell me the story of the Green Glengarry Bonnet. (Now's the time to remember my earlier note to you--it was the bonnet of the Cameronians--the Scottish Rifles).
  This lady, Patti Stinchcomb, daughter of Mick Stinchcomb (680HQ), is a SCION and had arrived in Lancaster the day before. She got in town somewhat earlier than planned and decided (on a whim), to go to the local Goodwill outlet just to look around and pass time---hey, a lot of ladies do likewise. Her friend was with her and, as ladies do they casually glanced at stuff with no intent to buy anything--just passing time!
  In the store was a bin with a lot of wool hats. scarfs, gloves, ect., typical of what you'll find in a Goodwill store. They walked by it and then Patti's friend suggested they return to the bin as she wanted to try and find a wool scarf as it was a cold day in Lancaster. As they were rummaging through the bin they saw what looked like a 17th Abn Div patch.
  Reaching down for the object she grasped what looked like a green US Army overseas hat. Pulling it out of the bin it soon became obvious it was more than that. What, she didn't know later became known; but at the moment what was unmistakable was the metal 17th Abn Div badge braised over another badge that was not recognizable to her. Obviously, that 'hat' was not going back to the bin. It was going to the SCIONS gathering!!!!
  What Patti had discovered in a most unlikely setting was a green Glengarry  Scottish Bonnet with a metal 17th Airborne Division badge braised over what was obviously a Regimental bonnet badge! Though hard to discern, that part which was visible was similar to the bonnet badge of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Regiment! (Scottish soldiers have been famous world wide for centuries. None were more deserving of this reputation than The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). For nearly 300 years the Cameronians fought for their country everywhere from the jungle swamps of the Far East to the frozen lands of Northern Europe. They took part in every campaign from the days of Marlborough and Wellington to Dunkirk, El Alamein and beyond.)
  Granted, we can all relate to the prowess of soldiers from Scotland and the uniqueness of their uniforms. BUT, what a juxtaposition of events cause a 17th Airborne Division metal badge to be braised on and superimposed over the bonnet badge of the Cameronians?????
  OK, you tell me---what made all these elements come together in Lancaster, PA, at a Goodwill storethat was visited on an impulse by a lady who was the daughter of a 17th Abn Div trooper! And, how did the Glengarry Bonnet of the Cameronians wind up in a bin in a Goodwill store in Lancaster????? AND, IN MARCH 2013 WHAT MADE IT ALL COME TOGETHER?
  If one were to try and concoct a story like this to amuse an audience or titillate the imagination of those who like to deal in the bizarre or unbelievable, I guess it is possible that such would be the result. BUT (!), to suggest that those who planned the SCIONS reunion in Lancaster in March 2013, would also pre-arrange for all the other facets of this tale, strains the imagination. Not that it couldn't have been done--but what would be the reasoning behind such subterfuge???? 
  Too many would have to be involved, not the least of which would be the Goodwill store and the managerial personnel. As well, Patti and her friend would have had to be briefed in detail in how to make their involvement believable.
  No, it was not contrived, except perhaps for a devious spirit that delights in confronting gullible humans with a seemingly impossible series of circumstances! To confront them with the unbelievable while making it all real!
  And even if these events in Lancaster were contrived (which I do not for one minute believe were so), there will still remain the unanswered--how did a Scottish soldier from the Cameronians lose, sell, or trade or otherwise give up his Glengarry Bonnet unique to the Scottish Rifle Regiment? And, even more perplexing, how and why did the metal replica of the patch of the 17th Airborne Division get braised over the Bonnet Badge of the Cameronians??
  Did some 17th Abn Div trooper while in England swap his overseas hat for the Scottish Bonnet--did he pick it up at a store--did he find it on the battlefield??? Irrespective, why did he put the 17th badge over the Cameronian badge instead of just replacing it? Or, did some Scottish rifleman lost it while on leave. Or, unlikely, did a Scottish riflemen do the deed???????????
  Whatever! That whatever happened all came together in Lancaster, PA, at an annual meeting of the SCIONS boggles the imagination!
  Colonel Bill Weber is Editor of an excellent publication---The Airborne Quarterly. Your $25 Membership fee gets you membership in the American Airborne Association; and four outstanding issues of Airborne History; stories; letters; humor: anecdotes; and personal stories from Airborne Veterans from WWII; Korea; Viet Nam; Iraq; and Afganistan.
  The last four issues of this vital publication have included articles about the Scions; General Miley; Operation Varsity; and now our Lancaster reunion--you can see his connection with the 17th Airborne----
  You are encouraged to support Col. Weber in his efforts to keep the Airborne Spirit Alive!!
  For information about joining up; contact Col. Weber at:
    (410) 775-7733-- by phone on line
     10301 McKinstry Mill Road
      New Windsor, MD  21776-7903--by mail
      website:www.American Airborne
Czech re-enactors tour Bulge Area
by Jos Bex

The Czech re-enactors group of Cenda Brzek and Pavel Stehno asked Jos Bex to prepare a 17th AB Tour in the Bulge.
Supplemented with the aid of local researcher Evan Ottelet the group visited Bastogne, Dead Man's Ridge, Houffalize and the 17th AB trail through Luxemburg. For the majority of the group this three day tour was the first visit in the area. Braving car breakdown on arrival and the heavy rainfall during the visit of the battlefields the group and the guides held firmly to their joint "mission" of visiting this heroic area.

Operation Varsity Statistics 
Contributed by Isaac Epps
The following is a list of statistics about Operation Varsity gathered by Editor Don Lassen and printed in the September, 1995 issue of Static Line Magazine
  Second Campaign for the Division; first Airborne operation.
  Commanded by Maj.General William "Bud" Miley---
  507th and 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment Combat teams were the first to take off---
 They were followed by the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment.
   First Airborne mission conducted by the Allies into Germany.
   Allies included: First Commando Brigade (British); 15th British Division: 6th British Airborne Division.
   Entire column was two hours and 18 minutes in length.
   Consisted of:
       226 C-47s and 72 C46s carrying parachute troops
       906 Gliders were towed by 610 C-47s
       42 C-54-s
       752 C-47s
       420 Gliders (6th Airborne)
       676 U.S. Fighter planes
       213 RAF Fighter planes
  Largest sky armada ever assembled.
  First and only time troopers jumped from the double door C-46 in combat.
  First time C-47s doubled-towed in combat.
  First time glider combat troops landed in fields not previously secured by paratroops.
  507th paratroops were the first to land on German soil (0948 hours, 24 March, 1945)
  The last units of the 194th GIR Combat Team were completed at 1210 hours.
  Within four hours all of the 17th Airborne Division's designated objectives had been seized. General Brerenton described this as the most successful Airborne operation in history---all objectives met in the shortest time ever in an Airborne Operation.
There were also 3 Medal of Honor Recipients in the 17th Airborne involved in Varsity--Pvt. Stuart Stryker; Pvt. George Peters, and Pvt. Clinton Hedrick.
  The 17th suffered heavy casualties on the first day:
       159 KIA
        522 wounded in action
        840 Missing in action---later 600 of these had been located and rejoined their outfits to continue fighting.
    Total casualties for the operation were:
         Killed in Action--- 393
         Wounded in Action---834
         Missing in Action---80
  This proved to be the bloodiest day in Airborne History---most casualties taken in the history of an Airborne Operation
  At the end of the day; 2,837 prisoners had been taken. By 0800 hours on March 25th that number had increased to 3,100 prisoners.
  By the end of the war, some statistics emerged that told the whole story. In the 50th Anniversary volume that was printed to honor the Airborne; the following statistics emerged: The 17th Airborne Division suffered 1,369 KIA during their time in combat---that is based on the number of names that are inscribed on the 17th Memorial that was set up at our reunions.
  Of the four Airborne Units that saw combat in WWII; in terms of casualties incurred based on days in combat; the following statistic came forward: This was calculated in terms of days in combat; divided by the number of casualties incurred: The daily rate of casualties was:
   11th Airborne---24
   17th Airborne---96
   101st Airborne---53
    82nd Airborne---50
  This is why we want to make sure the sacrifices and the story of the heroics of our 17th Troopers and their legacy is included in the story of the history of WWII.! This is the reason we are SCIONS!
Walk of Honor
by Isaac Epps
There is an opportunity to place a new 17th Airborne Memorial at the Walk of Honor at the National Infantry Museum. Many things have changed since the Army initially planned to move our existing Memorial to the new site. This is no longer being contemplated by the Army, but the opportunity to build another memorial off post at the New National Infantry Museum is a possibility.
The Scions are gathering information to determine the cost of such a project. Anyone interested in assisting us with this process, is asked to contact us at "". 

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)  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
Welcome New Scion Members

The Scions of the 17th Airborne are proud to welcome the following new members, who have joined our organization this month. As our membership grows, we can take on additional projects to honor our veterans and educate about the history of the 17th Airborne.
David & Katherine McMahon
Alexander, AR
Scions of Buren A. Nading (513 HQ)
Kevin Czajka
Twinsburg, OH 
Son of Walter Czajka (194 HQ2)
William Jones
Bolingbrook, IL
Grandson of Raymond Eiler, 194 HQ

Michael Gerner
Canton, CT
Son of Louis J. Gerner, 513th PIR

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

Chaplains Corner
by Isaac Epps

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

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

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

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

Thank you in advance for stepping up here.

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Completed

The translation of “Die Luftlandung” is completed and the books are ready to ship.

Those who have signed up for the book at the reunion in Lancaster will receive a personal email or a letter in which the book can be ordered.

Other interested persons can email, write, or call Jos the address below.

The book will be personally autographed and comes with a WWII patch of the Regiment or Battalion related to the one your family member served in during Operation Varsity.

Cheapest way is to transfer the money by bank to:
Bank name                                                                                       ABN-AMRO
International Bank Account Number     ( IBAN )                NL84ABNA0534860346
Bank Identification Code                        ( BIC )                             ABNANL2A
Amount             €  77 or $ 102.50  *
On behalf of             J.J. Bex 
*Standard shipping ( non tracable )

Name of my Bank:         ABN-AMRO
Address of the bank:   Langekerkstraat                                                                                                      45 6851 BM Huissen

 From every book sold Jos Bex will donate $5.00 to the Scions.
Jos Bex
Lemoen 9
6852 DS Huissen
The Netherlands
Telephone: 0011-312-6325-4361
Cell:            0011-3165-163-4487
Jos Bex email is:

Editors Note: We thank Jos for his generosity in contributing a portion of the book price to the Scions. Jos has spent many months working on this project and we look forward to seeing the finished product. The translation of this book from the original German into English was very challenging.
Scion 2013 - 2014 Gathering Schedule
It seems like a good idea to post information on our annual gatherings in this newsletter each month, so we can reserve the time in our schedules. We will keep this schedule updated each month.
 If you are planing a 17th Airborne related event, let us know, and we will post it here. 

September 25th - 27th - Jersey Shore Gathering

Michele Smith is planning a relaxing informal gathering at the Jersey Shore. Details are given in this newsletter, below.

Scions Annual Gathering in Washington, DC

The Hotel that we have selected as the home base for our group this year is:

 Inn of Rosslyn
    1601 Arlington Blvd.
    Arlington, Va.  22209
    (703) 524-3400
    $101.69/night--- good reviews
     Continental breakfast available
     24 hour cancellation policy
     Very near the gate to Arlington National Cemetery

From this hotel we will carpool to the ceremonies at Arlington and to the Kormann's reception that evening 
Friday, November 8 - National Archives - College Park, MD

Last year, the Scions made our initial trip to the National Archives, and were able to scan many interesting documents from the files related to the 17th Airborne. This year we plan to repeat the effort, and gather additional information. We are also looking to build a team that will organize the material that we collect, so that we can provide it to our members. If you are interested in participating in this project, please send us an email to "" 
Sat., November 9 - National Archives, College Park, MD 

The records that were pulled from storage on Friday will continue to be available for our inspection on Saturday. 
In addition, those who are not interested in this project can take the time to do some site seeing in D.C.

Sunday, November 10th - Arlington, VA

Arlington National Cemetery - Ceremonies at the memorial to the 17th at Arlington National Cemetery, and also at the National World War II Memorial. The Arlington event is planned and scheduled by the Rubin Tucker Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, and also includes stops at other Airborne memorials in the cemetery. The ceremony will start at 10:30 at the Woman's Memorial. Following this ceremony we convoy to the National WWII Memorial to place a wreath at the Airborne panel of the memorial. 

Reception at the home of Col. & Mrs. John Kormann at their home in Chevy Chase from 5 to 7 PM

Monday, November 11th - Return Home

March 23rd - 27th, 2014 - Lancaster, PA

Bill Smith's annual "Operation Varsity" gathering in Lancaster, PA. This event grows in popularity each year. A great time to relax and spend time with our veterans. Often some of our friends from Europe attend as well.

April 24th through April 27, 2014 - St. Clairsville, OH

Nancy Lauria has hosted an "Operation Varsity" gathering in St. Clairsville, OH each year. As we get more information, we will post it here.

Mini Reunion Planned for September at the Jersey Shore

by Michele Smith

Already plans are in the works for our March 2014 Varsity Mini Reunion in Lancaster Pa.

In addition, Trooper Mike Rock asked if we could propose an additional reunion at the beautiful Jersey shore. Therefore, we have negotiated again with The Golden Inn, which many of you will recall was the first location ,in 2008, of our Bill Smith mini reunions.  The rest as we say, is history!

The Golden Inn Hotel and Resort Oceanfront at 78th Street Avalon NJ 08202 is steps from the beach and has represented the best of the Jersey seashore for nearly half a century.  Being a guest at The Golden Inn means leaving your chores behind - and enjoying the best of the Jersey shore.  Their 154 guest rooms are equipped with fresh, comfortable beds, 27-inch color televisions,  unlimited Wireless Internet access, and in many cases breathtaking ocean views, outdoor pool, beach club and two restaurants on site.

Nearby Stone Harbor has many quaint shops.  Historic Cape May with its beautiful Victorian homes is a short drive away and Atlantic City casinos are also about a 45 minute drive.  We have reserved Wednesday, September 25 2013, to Friday, September 27 2013, for the proposed reunion.

For the three days and two nights stay, including two breakfast buffets and two a la carte dinners, our Hospitality Room, tax and meal gratuities the Single Occupancy is $415.00 and the Double Occupancy is $526.00 ($263.00 per person). 

Check in time is 3 :00pm (come early anyway) and check out is 11:00am.  No doubt some of you may decide to extend your stay to enjoy relaxing on the beach or visiting other sites.  September is usually a beautiful month at the shore and The Golden Inn is the region's most popular hotel all year round so it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO BOOK YOUR RESERVATION EARLY.  They have graciously reserved a block of rooms for the 17th Airborne, but because the hotel fills up fast all reservations must be made no later than August 28, 2013. 


Also, please call Michele Smith at 610-955-6277 and let me know if you will be attending. This mini reunion promises to be a relaxing gathering for fun and reminiscing with great friends.  Hope to see you there!
17th Airborne Online Store
Sales of the items below help to support the missions of the "Scions of the 17th Airborne", to honor the veterans of the 17th, and to keep the history of the Division alive.

Send your check to:

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

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

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

We had a sample Tee shirt made up to display at the 2012 Lancaster Reunion, and got a great response from those who attended. As a result, we can offer this 100% Cotten Tee Shirt with the Scion logo, and the motto "Thunder From Heaven" on the front and the back. Available in sizes S, M, L, & XL for $22 each, size XL for $25 each.

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

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

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

Checks may be made out to "Scions of the 17th Airborne",
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd., Danbury, CT 06811-3353
17th Airborne Challenge Coins
These beautiful, high quality challenge coins were developed by Scion Jeff Schumacher and his wife Melinda as a tribute to the 17th Airborne. The coins have the 17th Airborne insignia on one side, and the Scions logo on the reverse side. Available for $15 each, two for $25. Any additional coins above the quantity of two would be $10 each. Includes S&H.

Consider donating additional funds so that we can send these to as many of our veterans as possible, or buy two and give one to your special 17th veteran!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17th Airborne Division, Volume 1

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

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

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

Below are a few sample pages from this book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The website is located at:

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

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

Rose Friday, daughter of Edward Friday (194th)

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

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

Executive Committee:

Cindy Heigl - daughter of Tony Heigl (193rd)
Melanie Sembrat - daughter of Harry Sembrat (513th)
Robert Smith - brother of Levert L. Smith (194th)
Isaac Epps - son of Ralph Epps (194th)
From Scion Chuck Katz:

I thought you might be interested in seeing this.  My brother finally found the "original" purple heart awarded to our father.  My Dad showed the medal when I was a kid, but I did not remember the writing on the container holding the medal.  We still have no idea what his injury was that led to this medal.

Scion Peter Schleck spent a weekend visiting with the Kormann's at their retreat, the "Eagle's Tarn". It is our understanding that Col. Kormann's famous drink, the "Night Drop" was enjoyed.
From Michael Gerner

My name is Michael Gerner. My dad served as a Lt. in the 513th Parachute Infantry. I used to be an associate member of the 17th Airborne Association, receiving Thunder From Heaven, but I moved and lost contact with the organization. My father passed in 1997. I came across your web site today and it is a great resource to keep the memory of the 17th alive. I have done a lot of research on the 17th over the years and would like to contribute what I can and learn what I can from your website. I've always believed the 17th, despite its great sacrifices, is often overlooked in the history books. I'm looking forward to becoming a member.

Editors Note: We welcome Michael to the "Scions of the 17th Airborne", and look forward to sharing his research with the 17th Airborne family.

Below is a photo Michael sent of his father, Louis Gerner (513th)
From Scion Craig Record:

Just mailed dues out this morning.
Thanks for all your hard work and efforts in keeping the memory of the 17th alive.
Any information you may have on the Division Headquarters, Headquarters Company during the war would be greatly appreciated.  My grandfather Walter J. Finger was a Tech. Sergeant in the motor pool.
Thanks again!
Craig Record

Editors Reply:

Hi Craig,
 I will put your question in the next newsletter. At this point we don't have anything on Div. HQ from the National Archives. We plan to return in November for another day or so at digging through the records with a scanner.
 Also, if you don't already have one, we have the "17th Airborne Div. Vol. 1" book scanned and available on CD. Details are in the newsletter. This is a pre deployment publication. Also we have the "Talon newspapers" on CD. Lots of interesting information there as well.

Sick Call

Dr. John Magill

There is not a one of us who has not been touched by Dr. John Magill's messages at the reunion Memorial Services; or by his personal stories at Lancaster; or just by his passion for the 17th Airborne and the sacrifices made in WWII.
  In a phone call today to clarify his e-mail address; his wife Anna shared that he is not doing well--he has fluid on the brain, and is in Hospice Legacy Care; which is stage one of that type care---not intense but with a watchful eye. His daughter is staying with them to assist. Anna shared that there was not much they can do for him; and has allowed me to share this with the 17th Family.
  Inbound cards and prayers--
  Dr. John Magill
  PO Box 382
  Millerstown, Pa.  17062


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 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?
Genevieve Margaret Marincola
wife of Tony Marincola (194B)

June 30, 1919 - August 15, 2013

Genevieve Margaret (Gingo) Marincola, 94, of Canyon Country, passed away on August 15th, 2013 after a short illness. Genevieve was born on June 30th, 1919, in Watertown, New York. At the age of 16, in 1935, she met her future husband, Tony, at her Godfather's Italian restaurant. She graduated from Niagra Falls High School, then attended Trott Vocational School, and became a hairdresser. She would later open her own beauty salon, aptly named "Genevieve's Beauty Salon". In June of 1940, Genevieve and Tony married. While Tony served in World War II, Genevieve did her part as a "Rosie the Riveter". After the war was over, they welcomed...
Genevieve Margaret (Gingo) Marincola, 94, of Canyon Country, passed away on August 15th, 2013 after a short illness.
Genevieve was born on June 30th, 1919, in Watertown, New York. At the age of 16, in 1935, she met her future husband, Tony, at her Godfather's Italian restaurant. She graduated from Niagra Falls High School, then attended Trott Vocational School, and became a hairdresser. She would later open her own beauty salon, aptly named "Genevieve's Beauty Salon". In June of 1940, Genevieve and Tony married. While Tony served in World War II, Genevieve did her part as a "Rosie the Riveter".
After the war was over, they welcomed their first daughter, Suzanne, in November of 1946. Nearly 13 years later, they welcomed their 2nd child, another daughter, Donna, in June of 1959.
Job opportunities would lead the family to California in late 1959. After living in several locations in Southern California, they settled into their home in what is now Canyon Country. There she worked for TG&Y, Brings Bakery, Skyblue Mesa Elementary, and Rio Vista Elementary. She and her husband also ran the voting polls in their home for 20 plus years. She was a devout Catholic, and an original member of St. Clare's Parish in Canyon Country.
Genevieve enjoyed many, many years of retirement and being a housewife before falling ill. She will be remembered for her love for children and family, her generous spirit, and her fabulous Italian cooking.
Genevieve will be dearly missed. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, Anthony Marincola; her daughters, Suzanne (Jim) Ward and Donna (Allan) Deans; 2 grandsons, Gary Scott and Bradley Bergman; 2 granddaughters, Terri Shelden and Lauren (Marc) Donatz; and 2 great- grandsons, R.J. and Joshua Shelden.
A visitation will be held at Eternal Valley Memorial Park on Sunday, August 18th, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., with a Rosary at 3 p.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Clare's Catholic Church in Canyon Country, on Monday, August 19th, at 10:00 a.m., followed by interment at Eternal Valley. A reception will be held at St. Clare's following the graveside service.

Tony Marincola (194B) may be contacted at:
19613 Ermine St.
Canyon Country, CA 91387
Phone: (661)252-1320

From Tony Marincola's grand daughter, Terri

Dear Mr. Epps,

My apologies for not contacting you sooner. Things had changed quickly with my grandmother. She went downhill very fast, and sadly passed away yesterday morning. Our hearts are broken. I will miss her every day of my life.

Grandpa is doing better than anyone expected. He's accepted this much more easily than we had imagined he would. He is going about his daily routine, which is very good, especially considering his diabetes.

Thank you for all of the kind things you said about my grandmother, Genevieve. She was so very special.


Sion Jim Blethrow, son of Harry Blethrow (155D) took time to visit with Tony Marincola to offer our condolences on the passing of Tony's wife Genevieve, and to bring him a card and a plant. Many thanks to Jim for representing the Scions. 

(680 / B)

Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association 

On Thursday, March 28, 2013; the beloved husband of Mary Agnes Giovinazzo; father of Christina, Thomas and Steven Giovinazzo; grandfather of Christopher, Samantha, Jessica, Gabrielle and Tyler. Also survived by three great-grandchildren. Friends are invited to Fred's Life Celebration at the GEORGE P. KALAS FUNERAL HOME, 2973 Solomons Island Rd., Edgewater, MD on Thursday, April 4 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Friday, April 5 at 12:30 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 826 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville, MD. Interment Maryland Veterans Cemetery, Crownsville. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association , P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090.

Since the guest book has been
archived, letters of condolence may be mailed to:  Mary A. Giovinazzo
922 Beacon Way
Annapolis, MD 21401-7385
Earl J. Geoffrion

(PM Company)

Earl J. Geoffrion, 95, passed away Monday, August 12, 2013 from congestive heart failure. Earl was born in Toledo, Ohio on April 16, 1918. Earl was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad when he entered military service shortly after Pearl Harbor. With his prior experience he was assigned to operate a supply locomotive in Egypt. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Paratroops and was assigned to the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. He participated in the liberation of France, June 1944. He jumped into Normandy shortly after midnight before the main invasion force hit the beaches. After Earl's discharge from the military he returned to work as a locomotive engineer and retired with Conrail. Earl married his wife Tillie, March 2, 1946. They stayed happily married for 68 years. Earl has been honored over the years for his service. He was inducted into the Ann Arbor Hall of Heroes and was proud to be affiliated with the Liberty Jump Team. Earl was awarded the French Legion of Honor, Knight Chevalier Medal, the highest honor the French President can give to a soldier of another country. He was a member of St. Ignatius Church, and VFW Dunberger Post. He enjoyed fishing and golfing. Earl is survived by his wife, Matilda “Tillie” (Lieto); daughter, Linda (Jeffrey) Lohner; and grandchildren, Jason (Rachel), James and John Lohner; two great-grandchildren; and sister, Lucille (Arthur) Ovall. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers, Charles, Leo, Robert and Adolph, and his sisters, Josephine, Marie, Jewel, Mabel, Irene and Helen. Visitation will be Thursday from 2 until 9 pm at Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home Oregon Chapel, 440 S Coy Road, where a Rosary Service will be held at 6:00 p.m. Funeral Services will begin in the funeral home on Friday at 10:15 a.m. and proceed to St. Ignatius Catholic Church for Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Ignatius Cemetery. Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy in Earl's memory are asked to consider his family to be then divided among Earl's favorite charities.
Robert Heinis
Division Headquarters
Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

Robert P. Heinis, 88, of Totowa, NJ died Aug. 9, 2013.

Born in Orange, he was raised in West Orange and settled in Totowa in 1956. He was a mechanical engineer most of his life holding many patents and was the chief engineer of research and development for Red Devil, Union, before retiring in 1991. Heinis was a World War II Army veteran with the 17th Airborne Division. In addition, he was a member of the V.F.W. Post # 10104, Totowa and was a parishioner of St. James R.C. Church, Totowa.

Husband of the late Alma S. (nee Steiner) Heinis (1992). Father of Robert P. Heinis Jr. and his wife Kathleen, Kenneth A. Heinis and his wife Nadine, James Heinis and his wife Maureen and Karen Urry and her husband Christopher. Brother of the late Ferdinand and Frank Heinis and Marion Manger. Brother-in-law of Ruth, Fran and Bill Steiner and Eleanor Heinis. Survivors include his 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Arrangements: Festa Memorial Funeral Home, Totowa.

Memorials: Little Sisters of the Poor, 140 Shepherds Lane, Totowa, NJ 07512 or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Joseph J. Rodriquez


Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association
Life Member Joseph J. Rodriquez (680A) died Sept. 25, 2011. Joe's wife, Eileen preceded him in death on Sept. 3, 2011. The obituary and guest book have been archived. Messages of condolence may be sent to Joe's son, Scott Rodriquez at 980 Woodland Ave., Scottsburg, IN 47170-1340.

Jack Ariola 

194 / B
Just wanted to let you know that Jack Ariola died on Tuesday, July 30.  He died as he had prayed he would...  peacefully in his sleep.  Please advise anyone you need to advise.  If anyone would like to put a message in the memorial page, the website is  It was a pleasure knowing all of you and I wish you success with the Scions.
 Kindest regards,
June Ariola

Mr. Jack Ariola, 90, of Corning, AR., passed away Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at home. Mr. Ariola was born in Corning, AR., on July 8, 1923. He was was a retired oil field operator, author, locksmith, and construction worker. He proudly served his country during World War II as a member of the United States Army, serving as an airborne glider-trooper, he earned three Bronze Stars during his tour of duty. He was a member of Veterans of Battle of the Bulge, Silent Wings Museum, Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War and the 17th Airborne Association. He enjoyed woodworking.
He married his wife Helen June (Hooper) Ariola December 7, 1999 in Lake Havasu City, AZ. She survives, other survivors are two children Gail Hodges of New York, Jimmy Ariola of Santa Ana, CA; one sister Juanita Madrid of Colorado; fifteen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by parents Monte Zuma and Georgia Raye (Vines) Ariola; three children Kathy Thrift, Jackie Ariola, and Theodore Ariola; four brothers Monte ZumaAriola, Monte RayeAriola, Joseph Elmer Ariola and Charles Grey Ariola.
Funeral services will be conducted Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM in the Ermert Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Herbert Ellis officiating. Burial will follow the services in Richwoods Cemetery. Visitation will be held Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM
Richard J. McKinley
155 / D

McKinley, Richard J., Sr. Asleep in Jesus Saturday, November 20, 2010. Beloved husband of the late Joyce M. McKinley (nee Truetzschler); dear father of Jeanne (Bud) Moss, Joan (Steven) Koehler, Linda (Ted) HoppePruess, Kathy (Michael) Willhite, Donna McKinley, Richard (Kathy) McKinley, Jr., Jim (Donna) McKinley and Tim (Susan) McKinley; dear grandfather of Jay (Amy) and Britt (Mindy) Moss, Tammy (Fred) Martinson, Sam (Kelly) and Chris (Stephanie) Koehler, Carmen Clark, Tom (Jennifer) and Eric (Cindy) Aguado, Kevin (Carrie) and Jessica Helldoerfer, Richard III, Benjamin, Daniel, Jonathan, Joshua, Zachary, Austin, Ashley, Courtney and Jordan McKinley; dear greatgrandfather of Alexandra, Kaitlyn, Matthew, Grant and Reagan Moss, Cooper and Kendall Martinson, Gwen and Garrett Getz, Dustin, Devin and Jacob Clark, Madeleine, Braxton, Isabel, Abigail Aguado, Lydia Helldoerfer and the late Chelsea Clark; our dear uncle, great-uncle and friend. Proud veteran of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Services: Funeral from KUTIS SOUTH COUNTY CHAPEL, 5255 Lemay Ferry Rd. (at Butler Hill), Mon., Nov. 22, 1pm. Interment National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the deGreeff Hospice House, Backstoppers or charity of your choice appreciated. Visitation Sun., 4-9pm and Mon 10am-1pm. - See more at:

Letters of condolence are to be addressed to Richard's daughter, Donna McKinley, at 5029 Country Valley Road,  Imperial, MO 63052

McKinley, Richard J., Sr. Asleep in Jesus Saturday, November 20, 2010. Beloved husband of the late Joyce M. McKinley (nee Truetzschler); dear father of Jeanne (Bud) Moss, Joan (Steven) Koehler, Linda (Ted) HoppePruess, Kathy (Michael) Willhite, Donna McKinley, Richard (Kathy) McKinley, Jr., Jim (Donna) McKinley and Tim (Susan) McKinley; dear grandfather of Jay (Amy) and Britt (Mindy) Moss, Tammy (Fred) Martinson, Sam (Kelly) and Chris (Stephanie) Koehler, Carmen Clark, Tom (Jennifer) and Eric (Cindy) Aguado, Kevin (Carrie) and Jessica Helldoerfer, Richard III, Benjamin, Daniel, Jonathan, Joshua, Zachary, Austin, Ashley, Courtney and Jordan McKinley; dear greatgrandfather of Alexandra, Kaitlyn, Matthew, Grant and Reagan Moss, Cooper and Kendall Martinson, Gwen and Garrett Getz, Dustin, Devin and Jacob Clark, Madeleine, Braxton, Isabel, Abigail Aguado, Lydia Helldoerfer and the late Chelsea Clark; our dear uncle, great-uncle and friend. Proud veteran of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Services: Funeral from KUTIS SOUTH COUNTY CHAPEL, 5255 Lemay Ferry Rd. (at Butler Hill), Mon., Nov. 22, 1pm. Interment National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the deGreeff Hospice House, Backstoppers or charity of your choice appreciated. Visitation Sun., 4-9pm and Mon 10am-1pm. - See more at:
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62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd
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