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 # 31 - May - June 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.
In This Newsletter

-  Scions Say Farewell to Founder John Kormann (517/SG)

17th Veterans and Scions Return to Europe - Part 2  

- Scions Honor 17th Airborne MOH Recipients

- Scions Launch Directory Project

-  Scions 2015 Gathering Schedule

-   Scions Memorial Fund
     by Ed Siergiej Jr.

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Information on Membership and Dues

-   Chaplain's Corner
-   Scions Bylaw Change
     by Ed Siergiej Jr - Secretary / Treasurer

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 Say Farewell to Founder
John Kormann, (517 SG)

by Michele Smith

Dear Scions,

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, our dear friend Col. John Godlove Kormann was laid to rest. It was a beautiful service and a great tribute to a great man. John left us a Contemplative Bequest to be shared with all of you. I suggest that you print this out, make copies, and pass it on to all your family and friends. At the same time you will want to give the following outline of his life and service to our country. First the bio:


       John Godlove Kormann

John Godlove Kormann, a long-serving diplomat and retired Army Colonel who received the State Department's Award for Heroism and the French Legion d'Honneur died April 29, 2015.


Col. Kormann contributed to US military and diplomatic efforts for more than three decades, across four continents.


Col. Kormann served as a combat paratrooper in WWII, dropping into Germany with the 17th Airborne Division in Operation Varsity and also fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Legion of d'Honneur for his war service and subsequent work with the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), apprehending ranking Nazis and war criminals.


Col. Kormann's Foreign Service career included serving in Benghazi, Libya 1966-68, when, as the Officer-in-Charge, he defended the US Embassy during the Six Day War and oversaw the evacuation by air of 450 Americans, for which he received the state Department's Award for Heroism medal. He also served in Manila, Philippines from 1962-66, and as the Deputy to the US Ambassador to Egypt 1974-75. He was the Politico-Military Advisor in the State Department supervising military assistance programs to 18 countries, from 1969-72, and retired following a role as the Chairman of an Inter-Agency Advisory Group to improve coordination and reporting from overseas of the state and defense Departments, as well as the CIA and FBI.


Col. Kormann was the national president of the 17th Airborne Division Association, and is the founder of the "Scions of the 17th Airborne". His adventurous life is recorded in the book, Echoes of a Distant Clarion: Recollections of a Diplomat and Soldier.


Col. Kormann was born in New York City in 1924. He graduated from Columbia University, where he received BA and MA degrees in Public Law and also attended the US Army War College.


He is survived by his wife, Elsa Wells Kormann of Chevy Chase, Maryland; two children, Matthew Kormann of Glenwood, Maryland and Andrea Kormann Lowe of London, England and eight grandchildren. His elder son, Wells Bradford Kormann, died in 2005, 10 years prior to the day that Col. Kormann was called home.


     John's Contemplative Bequest

John expressed as a final wish to leave his family and friends, and particularly the young people in the group, a few thoughts which have guided him throughout his life. He is leaving them for you to contemplate. These are his thoughts:


Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a great American, in 1884 in a Memorial Address told his listeners..."That as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at peril of being judged not to have lived."


Caught up as I was as a young person in the Great Depression and World War II, I agree with this piece of philosophy. I remember so vividly one morning at dawn in World War II, when as a young paratrooper I sat in an aircraft looking down at the ground below. We had just taken off from an airfield near Chartres in France and were on our way to be dropped behind the lines in Germany.


It was a beautiful, crisp dawn, with the rising sun bursting golden rays into an azure sky sprinkled with pink clouds. Less than a thousand feet below, I saw Chartres cathedral in all its magnificence. Off to a side were green fields, where a French farmer and his horse were plowing the rich dark earth.


Then I looked at the sullen, tense faces of the paratroopers sitting with me, weapons and gear strapped to them. They were a menacing sight. I glanced again at the peaceful scene below, the cathedral towers reaching up at us, and I said to myself: "Why me Lord? Why am I here? Of all of the millions of soldiers, why me?"


Justice Holmes, I guess, provides the answer... ..."That as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time, at peril of being judged not to have lived."


My mother, a deeply religious woman of remarkable character and wisdom would say to me that in life nothing is as important as the manner in which you meet its challenges. There will be times when you will face troubles, tragedies, injustice and, perhaps even ridicule and humiliation. You may experience disappointments and failures, at times through no fault of your own. Often, you will say what have I done to deserve this? In those moments, you will have to rise above the things that happen to you.


When all is said and done, the pathways on the road of life are yours to choose and when you do so with courage, integrity, dignity and compassion the things that happen to you lose their power over you. That, in the end, will be your peace of mind and your security.


I leave you with Winston Churchill's wonderful admonition about life's trials and troubles, when one is sore pressed and everything is going wrong. "Remember, kites fly their highest against the wind."


May the Good Lord watch over you all and keep you in His care.

                          Col. John Godlove Kormann, 17th Airborne 517th Sig

Scions gather at the Chevy Chase Methodist Church to say farewell to Col. John Kormann. 
Photos provided by Rose Friday
17th Airborne Veterans and Scions
Return to Europe - Part 2

by Diane Clark
Daughter of Mel Lagoon (193E / 194)


Scions visit The Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten
March 23, 2015
The Scions were in for a busy schedule on Monday March 23, 2015.  We were on the bus early and headed into the Netherlands with our evening overnight destination to be in Wesel, Germany.  Since yesterday was the Dead Man’s Ridge Walk, some folks were a bit tired and walking a little slow.  A few quiet hours on the bus would be welcome rest. Dusty started the day with a special travel prayer and wanted especially to acknowledge that we were all keeping John Kormann and John Schumacher close to our hearts these days.
On the road we had a busy schedule, with quick stops near the temporary U. S. Cemetery and existing German Cemetery near Recogne. The U.S. soldiers initially interned here were either removed to the United States or to a formal U.S. European Cemetery by 1948. 
We also stopped to lay a wreath at a 17th Memorial in Houffalize.
We entered The Netherlands, crossing the Meuse River at Leige. We were surprised at the city size and industrial look.  We were now close to our next stop - lunch and meeting up with our Netherland hosts. As we pulled into the parking lot of The Hotel van der Maastricht, we were met by members of The 17th Airborne Division Margraten Memorial Group. Here several of the Scions recognize folks they had met in the past so there was plenty of quick hugs and visiting.  Donald and I were able to reconnect with a couple “old friends” who had guided us in 2013, in Wesel, Joe and Flory Somers.
After lunch they accompanied us to The Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten. 
Lunch at the hotel was a very nice buffet.  It was a good time to get to meet more members of the Scions.  It seemed at each meal the groups changed and it gave everyone an opportunity to discuss our perspectives of what we’ve seen and experienced thus far, or to share stories from our veteran fathers/grandfathers. At each stop we continued to bond and get to know each other even more.
A short drive from our hotel lunch stop we arrived at the beautiful manicured gardens of The Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten. Small groups became somber as we strolled the garden and reflection pond to take in the walls of inscriptions and lists of MIAs.  We headed to the Memorial Chapel, where a dedication and short service began shortly after we arrived.
This chapel is small but a moving space.  We crowded closely and listened to the words of thanks and remembrance spoken by our hosts.  We were treated to a special performance by a young American veteran, Mark Chernek. He played his guitar and sang a song he wrote himself – The High Price of Freedom. His song touched us all. He gave each of the veterans a copy of his CD (not from our visit, but this is a link to a performance of the song he sang for us).

The memorial service over, it was time for us to divide into our ‘squads’.  This beautiful day we would visit the graves of the 236 17th Airborne veterans buried in Margraten.  From a list, a name was read, a location noted, then off a Scion would go to that site. At each grave we gave a moment of silence and thought, then placed of a long stem yellow rose at the brilliant white cross for that soldier killed in action 70 years ago. It was also touching to have a chance to visit with some of the locals who happened to also be there and who have adopted our veterans’ graves. 
During the time the squads were busily working, a few others were visiting special fellow soldiers and having quiet thoughts of their own.
Among our visit would be one of the 17th Airborne Medal of Honor recipients - George G. Peters. During WWII the 17th AB had 4 MOH recipients, the 101st - 3 and the 82nd - 2.  As the day ended we barely touched the headstones of the 8,301 U.S. soldiers resting in this beautiful cemetery.  We said farewell to our Dutch friends and it was back on the bus, heading to our home for the next few days, The Haus Duden Hotel in Wesel, Germany.  
For the last of the bus ride Greg had put in an old movie called “Operation Varsity” by AV Art Productions. Greg said it was made just after the war and quite realistically portrays the GI experience for Operation Varsity.  As we would be reliving those sites over the next few days, it was appropriate to get some good background.  The Wesel photographs did leave a lasting impression on us all as we toured some of those same sites in the coming days.
Our hotel has significant history, as it was the site of the 194th Glider Infantry Regimental headquarters during Varsity.   Just across the motorway are the vast farmlands that were the sites of the Landing Zones and Drop Zones for Operation Varsity, those 70 years ago. 
We all ended the day with a dinner in the great dining room.  It was then that we were pleased to see John Schumacher rejoin the group, and we gave him a very warm welcome back.  He was to take it easy, but cheerfully happy to be back with us all.
As the day had not been busy enough, we finished the evening with an orientation to lay the groundwork for the next few days of touring the sites associated with Operation Varsity.
Don and I recalled our previous trip to Belgium in 2013 and how much we had packed into a single day: Bastogne, Houffalize, Mülheim, Wesel, the Our River, back to Bastogne.  This trip has been much better paced and it’s great to have had an opportunity to revisit some of the same locations.  Dad (Melvin Lagoon) talked about taking this trip again but knew he just couldn’t do it.  He was with us in spirit and he loved to hear the updates of the places he recalled.  This trip will be in our memory forever. 

Scions Honor 17th Airborne MOH Recipients
One of the projects supported by our Memorial Fund is the laying of wreaths at the graves of the four 17th Airborne Medal of Honor recipients. Three are in the US and one at Margraten Cemetery, in the Netherlands. The photos below are provided by those who helped us to place the wreaths. 
Flory and Joe Somers placed this beautiful flower arrangement and memorial at the grave of George Peters at Margraten Cemetery
17th Veteran Bill Tom (194/C) and Jos Bex at the Grave of Stuart Stryker at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, CA
Scion Mike Martinez provided this beautiful remembrance
Scions Jerry and Pat O'Brien placed the wreath at the Grave of Isadore S. Jachman in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Jerry and Pat have also done some research into finding any remaining family members of Sgt Jachman. In a future newsletter, we will report on what they have learned. 
Scion Judy Foster Holland, placed this wreath at the grave of
Clinton Hedrick. North Fork Memorial Cemetery, Riverton, WV
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.

This posting is "Step 1" in the process. We will also send out a mass email to our membership as well. 
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 # ____________________________________________


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.

 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, and has been doing so for a number of months now. 

 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. 
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. 
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.

Due to the size of this months newsletter, photos from the gatherings in Wheeling, WV and Lancaster, PA will be included in the July issue of "Thunder From Heaven"

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.

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

John and Elsa Kormann have made a generous contribution
to the Memorial Fund this month

!!  Welcome New Members  !!

Sue Bates
Daughter of Jean Klick (193/194th)
Lebanon, PA

Capt. Chris Wieczorek, AUS
Grandson of Richard Dulek (194th)
Manhatten, KS

Patty Azar
Daughter of Hewlette J. Feltman (513th)
Cave Creek, AZ

Marc E. Wernick
Son of Donald E. Wernick (513th)
Oregon, WI

Elias Hansen - Associate Member
Great Grandson of Melvin N. Kammen , Glider Pilot
Hewitt, N.J. 

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 

Carol Inman

Chaplains Corner
by Isaac Epps

Thank you to the volunteers who have laid wreaths at the graves of the four Medal of Honor recipients of the 17th Airborne Division.

Jerry and Pat O'Brien, honoring S/Sgt. Isadore S, Jachman (513/B) in Baltimore County, MD

Judy Foster Holland, honoring T/Sgt. Clinton M. Hedrick (194/I) in Riverton, WV

Joe and Flory Somers, honoring Pvt. George J. Peters (507/G) in Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

Bill Tom, Jos Bex, and Mike Martinez, honoring Stuart S. Stryker (513/E), in San Bruno, CA

I cannot close without honoring the memory of Col. John Kormann for his inspiration to me personally, his leadership of the 17th Airborne Division Association, and his guidance to the Scions organization.
Proposed Change to Scion Bylaws
by Ed Siergiej Jr
Secretary / Treasurer 


The Scion organization has grown considerably since our founding in 2011. As we have grown, we have been able to spread out the work of operating the organization, which also helps us to better serve the needs of the organization. Some of the changes made in the last year are:

Scion Paul Madden, son of Hal Madden (680th A Battery) has offered to take on the role of Historian

Scion Adam Coolong, grandson of Charles E. Booth (680th HQ) has agreed to take the point on the Newsletter and also the Coordinator of the material mined from the National Archives

Scion Chuck Katz, son of John Katz (194th GIR) has offered to serve as a legal adviser to the organization. 

With these important roles established, it has been suggested that we make the following change to the Bylaws.

Increase the number of members on the Executive Committee from 8 to 15 Scions.
The existing 8 seats on the Executive Committee are filled by:

President - Currently - Rose Friday
Vice President - Currently - Michele Smith
Seceratary / Treasurer - Currently - Ed Siergiej Jr.
Chaplain - Currently - Isaac Epps
Melanie Sembrat
Cindy Heigl
Robert Smith

Jeff Schumacher

The proposed change is to "Add 7 seats on the Executive Committee to make a total of 15, providing seats for:

Newsletter Editor - Currently - Adam Coolong
Historian - Currently - Paul Madden
Legal Adviser - Currently - Chuck Katz
Membership Committee Chair 
Recording Secretary
Marty Cavanah - At large
Patricia Bowers - At large

This motion was approved at the May 2015 meeting in Lancaster, PA

Ed Siergiej Jr
Seceratary / Treasurer
April 30, 2014

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!

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. 
Do you know "Trooper Joe"?

We were recently contacted by the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin, Texas regarding these three photographs. They were part of a collection acquired by the museum. After identifying the trooper as 17th Airborne, they contacted us to see if we would like the photos. One of the photos has the inscription, " Lots of love, Joe", and another is inscribed "To the girl I left behind", Love, Joe". One photo was taken at the Andre Studio, in Lexington, VA. 

 If anyone can identify the trooper we will try to get the photos back to the family, should they so desire. 

Operation Varsity LZ provided by Elias Hansen
This great photo of Glider Pilots waiting to be evacuated after landing in Germany was provided by Elias Hansen, Grandson of Glider Pilot Melvin Kammen.

L to R are: Capt Mervin Connor - Sgt Melven Kammen - Sgt Paul Rudnicki - Lt Bailey - FO Arnold
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.

From David Shortt,

Guys we made it back to Ohio and our beloved Museum, impressive man COL KORMANN, he epitomized the duty, honor and country attributes of an Airborne Officer with both the 17th and 82nd, let us live our lives to honor him.

We were so moved by the kindness and  camaradarie of the Veterans and SCIONS and regret only staying two days, but duty called.  God Bless and we hope to see all of you soon.







Myself and CHARLES DAVIS wanted to express our thanks to you for allowing us to attend the Scions Reunion, we both had a wonderful time and were amazed how cordial and helpful everyone was that we talked to.  The 17th Troopers, from Major General Miley to the youngest Private, would be so proud of what you and the SCIONS have accomplished, ensuring that their deeds, glory and memory lives on. 

We both agree that the only regret we have was leaving too early, and hoping that we had stayed the entire week.  We want to support you in any way that we can, whether it be setting up historical displays, doing research, administrative work or tracking down more Veterans and SCIONS for membership-we will volunteer for whatever you need. 

We are looking at trying to attend West Virginia and Pennsylvania reunions.  Thank you for your efforts and we look forward to seeing you soon.





CWO, US Army Retired

From Peter Schleck,

I stopped by the 17th Airborne's Marker at Arlington Cemetery earlier today.  I added a few things for the occasion.


17 U.S. Flags.


The flags of our great friends and allies.


The flag of the European Union, especially, for Colonel Kormann, our departed friend, whose work did not end with the war.


You can see some photos, from Lancaster gatherings, taken by Rose Friday.  If you look you will see Bill Smith, Mike Rock, John Kormann, John Leather, and some others.  Many gone now too.  But we will remember them always.  


Sick Call


Warren Lucas, son of Norvel (Luke) Lucas reports that his father will be moving to an assisted living facility soon.
Cards may be sent to:

Norvel Lucas
5710 S. 108th Street, #108
Omaha, NE 68137

Mike Rock (680B) has just returned home after a long time in the hospital, and is recovering steadily, with the able help of his family and especially his daughter Diane.

Mike could use our support now, and he appreciates hearing from the 17th Family.
 Mike Rock
70 Gasko Road
Mays Landing, NJ 08330



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
John G. Kormann

517 Signal Company

Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

John Godlove Kormann, a long-serving diplomat and retired Army Colonel who received the State Department's Medal for Heroism and the French Legion d'Honneur died April 29, 2015 Brightview/ Fallsgrove at age 90 of bone cancer.

Mr. Kormann contributed to US military and diplomatic efforts for more than three decades across four continents. 

Mr. Kormann served as a combat paratrooper in WWII, dropping into Germany with the 17th Airborne Division in Operation Varsity and also fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Légion d'Honneur for his war service and subsequent work with the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), apprehending ranking Nazis and war criminals.

Mr. Kormann's Foreign Service career included Benghazi, Libya 1966-68, when, as the Officer-in-Charge he defended the US Embassy during the Six Day War and oversaw the evacuation by air of 450 Americans, for which he received the State Department's Medal for Heroism. He also served in Manila, Philippines from 1962-66, and as the Deputy to the US Ambassador to Egypt 1974-75. He was the Politico-Military Advisor in the State Department supervising military assistance programs to 18 countries, from 1969-72, and retired following a role as the Chairman of an Inter-agency Advisory Group to improve coordination and reporting from overseas of the State and Defense Departments, as well as the CIA and FBI.

Mr. Kormann was a national president of the 17th Airborne Division Association, and is the founder of the "Scions of the 17th Airborne". His adventurous life is recorded in the book, Echoes of a Distant Clarion: Recollections of a Diplomat and Soldier.

Mr. Kormann was born in New York City in 1924. He graduated from Columbia University, where he received BA and MA degrees in Public Law and also attended the US Army War College.

He is survived by his wife, Elsa Wells Kormann of Chevy Chase, MD; two children, Matthew Kormann of Glenwood, MD and Andrea Kormann Lowe of London, England and eight grandchildren. An elder son, Wells Bradford Kormann, died in 2005.

Funeral service for Mr. Kormann will be at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church on May 16, 2015. - See more at:
Frank Cotman

FRANK COTMAN, age 98. Beloved husband of Isabel (nee Lascola) (deceased). Dear father of Kathleen (deceased), Linda and Richard (Sharon) (AZ.). Grandfather of Emily. Brother of Frances Kadis and the following deceased: Stanley, Edward and John. WWII U.S. Army veteran of the 17th Airborne Division. Founding member of the Northeast Yacht Club. Friends received ZELE FUNERAL HOME, 452 E. 152nd ST., WEDNESDAY 3-7 P.M. Services Thursday 11 a.m. at Our Lady Of The Lake Church, 175 E. 200th St., Euclid, Ohio 44119. Donations in his memory to Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio, 1725 E. 115th St., Cleveland, Ohio 44106, would be appreciated by the family. - See more here.  

Bob Quegan

Robert F. Quegan, age 90, formerly of Brockton and W. Dennis, departed this life on June 22, 2015, at Plymouth Crossing, Plymouth, MA following a period of declining health. He was the beloved husband of the late Gloria “GoGo” (Gifford) Quegan. 

Son of the late Frank and Amarie (Francis) Quegan, Bob was born and raised in Taunton, MA. After graduation from Monsignor Coyle HS in 1943, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Co H, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division. Bob participated in all 3 campaigns fought by the 17th Airborne: at Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) for which he received the Purple Heart, in the Rhineland (Operation Varsity) during which he parachuted into Germany, and in the Central Europe Campaign. 

After serving, Bob attended Boston College, graduating in 1950. Bob returned to his old high school as a teacher and coach for two years while obtaining his Master’s Degree from Bridgewater State. Thereafter and until his retirement in 1987, he taught, coached and administrated at Randolph Junior High School.

Bob met the love of his life, Gloria “GoGo” Gifford at Swift’s Beach in the summer of 1941. They married in 1949 and settled in Brockton. In 2000, Bob and Gloria moved their permanent residence to their summer home in West Dennis. In 2010, Bob and his wife took their three daughters and son-in-law Bill on an emotional and bonding ETO (European Theatre of Operations) tour.

Bob was a Past President of the 17th Airborne Division Association and chaired the Danvers, MA reunion attended by over 500 troopers and their families. In 2007, he chaired the final reunion in Hampton, VA attended by over 600 Veterans and their families.

Bob was very active in local church and civic organizations. He was an avid golfer and cribbage, horseshoe and bocce player. Along with his wife, he was a member of the Wampanoag Canoe Club and the Cape Cod Curling Club. Together, they were world travelers.

Bob is also survived by his children Edward L. Quegan of San Antonio, TX, Kristen M. Lavoie of Halifax, Andrea R. White of Charlotte, NC and Michele E. Fitzgerald and her husband Bill of Plymouth; three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brothers Edward Leo and William, and his sisters Louise McNulty and Mary Spousta.

Visitation will be held in the Conley Funeral Home, 138 Belmont Street (Rte 123) Brockton, Thursday 9-10:30am, followed by a Funeral Service at 10:30am. Burial in Melrose Cemetery. Please consider donations in his name to Scions of the 17th Airborne, 62A Forty Acre Mt. Road, Danbury, CT 06811.

 Pannill, Mary Alleta

Sister of Robert L. Smith, Scion Director


The Scions are saddened to learn of the passing of Mary A. Pannill, sister of Robert L. Smith, and Levert L. Smith Jr (194/C) KIA 3/24/45. Robert has provided the following for our newsletter. 

Martin C. Bates 
681 / HQ

Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

BATES - Martin C. Of Lancaster, NY, April 23, 2015, beloved husband of the late Eva (Bauer); loving father of Vivian Bates, Frederick J. (Cynthia), Nancy (Richard) Bacon, Annette Kerce; grandfather of Jeffrey (Ella), Eric, Thomas, Bonnie (Scott) Wilson, Angela (Adam) Goraj, Lorraine (Chris) Schaffer; great-grandfather of Jonathan, Connor and Jasmine; predeceased by two brothers, Frederick and Robert and two sisters, Anna and Joyce. Family will receive relatives and friends at the WENDEL & LOECHER, INC. FUNERAL HOME, 27 Aurora St., Lancaster, Monday 2-4 and 6-8 PM, where services will be held Tuesday morning at 10 AM. Martin served during World War II in the U.S. Army 17th Airborne Division 681 st HQ Gliders and participated in both The Battle of the Bulge and Operation Varsity. - See more here.  

Marcy A. Just

Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

Marcy A. Of Lackawanna, NY, March 1, 2015, beloved husband of the late Regina (nee Molenda); dearest father of Florence (Kenneth) Horton and Donald (Barbara); grandfather of Melanie and Dr. Michelle Horton; son of the late Jan and Antonina (nee Sowinski) Just; brother of the late Jean (late Dr. Stanley) Zambron, Henry (late Sally), Thaddeus (late Rose) and Marion Just; also survived by nieces and nephews. Services from THE COLONIAL MEMORIAL CHAPELS, INC., 3003 South Park Ave., Lackawanna, NY, Thursday at 10 AM and from Our Lady of Victory Basilica at 10:30. Mr. Just was a member of the 17th Airborne Division. Visitation Tuesday and Wednesday 3-8 PM. A special thanks is extended to the staff at Mercy Nursing Facility at OLV. - See more here. 

Lyle J. Buscher


 Lyle Joseph Lyle Buscher, 89, of Sacramento, CA, was called to Heaven on November 4, 2011. Born September 11, 1922 in Sioux City, Iowa.  Lyle was born to Anna & Tony Buscher and died at age 89. Husband for 60 years to Beth Buscher, & father to Kevin, Peggy(Richard), Brian(Suzie); 1 grandson. He was a Paratrooper in WWII, 17th Airborne.

Mass of Christian Burial: Nov 14, 2011, 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, Sacramento.

Tracey Reed

139th Airborne Engineer Battalion

On April 21, 2015 at his home in Arlington, VA. A longtime resident of Arlington, VA, he served in the 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. Tracey was employed as a construction engineer with Stone and Webster, Martin and Gas, and finally Fairfax Water, where he retired in January 1988. He is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Barbara L. Reed; son, Tracey R. (Janie) Reed, Jr.; grandchildren, Carrie (Herby) Brown, and Curtis Reed; as well as his great grandchildren, Trace and Skylar Brown. Family and friends may gather on Thursday, April 30, 2015 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22302. Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 1 p.m. at Emanuel Episcopal Church, 1608 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22301 with interment to follow at Ivy Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to A guest register may be found at - See more here.

Billie L. Taylor


Billie Lee Taylor "Bill", 93, passed away on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 in Brownsville, Texas.

Bill was born in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was a graduate of Monticello High School in 1941, from 
Purdue University in 1952, and of Indiana State Teachers College in 1956. Bill was a member of Phi Delta Kappa and a founding member of Bethany Presbyterian Church.

After serving in the Airborne Unit Anti-Tank Co 194th Glider Infantry 17th Airborne Division, he married his childhood sweetheart, Frances "Babe" Bowman, on Sept. 12, 1945.

A lifelong educator, he spent his career first as a teacher at Tippecanoe from 1952-1962 then as a school principal at Edgelea Elementary from 1962-1985.

Bill was an accomplished trumpet player and played with the Lafayette Citizens Band from 1952 to 2012.

Bill is preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Frances.

He is survived by his brother, Charles Taylor (Chuck), his son, John (Anna) Taylor, his daughter, Susan (Jeffrey) Rankert, his granddaughters: Erica (Enrique) Guevara, Stephanie Taylor, Elane (Hector) Flores; four great-granddaughters and a great-grandson.

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, educator, and friend.

A memorial service will be held in his hometown, of Monticello, Indiana at a later date.

You may view the obituary, sign the guestbook, and send your condolences online to Bill's family at

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Darling-Mouser Funeral Home, 945 Palm Blvd, Brownsville, Texas 78520, and (956) 546-7111. - See more here. 
Robert Patterson

513th PIR

Robert “Bob” Patterson, a retired school administrator and World War II veteran, was searching for ways to provide more affordable housing in the Snoqualmie Valley area when he attended the national Habitat for Humanity conference in Atlanta in 1988. There he heard the group’s founder, Millard Fuller, and former President Carter speak about their mission of enlisting people to help build their own houses and in turn help others build theirs.

Mr. Patterson founded Habitat for Humanity of East King County that year and continued to serve on the board and work on behalf of the organization until he retired in 2013 and the group merged with the Seattle/South King County Habitat.

“For 25 years, he was the moral compass for the East King County Habitat affiliate,” said Tom Granger, a former executive director of the organization. “He was a mentor and an inspiration.”

Mr. Patterson, of Carnation, died May 18 of heart failure. He was 90.

Born in 1924 in the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle, Mr. Patterson graduated from West Seattle High School in 1942. He joined the 17th Army Airborne Division and parachuted behind enemy lines in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. About half the men he served with were wounded or killed, said his son, Jim Dockery.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Washington in 1949, he re-enlisted during the Korean War at the rank of lieutenant and was stationed in Alaska.

His son said Mr. Patterson was one of the last of the “Greatest Generation,” World War II veterans who spoke little of their experiences, but spent the rest of their lives dedicated to helping others.

“He was very hard working, very responsible. He embodied the virtues of service to country, to community and family. He really was one of those guys.”

Mr. Patterson earned a doctorate in education from Washington State University in 1969. His first job as a principal was in Carnation, a town he fell in love with and returned to after a career as a school administrator around the state. His last position was as superintendent of the Entiat School District, north of Wenatchee.

Mr. Patterson’s first wife Anita died in 1963. He married his wife Shirley in 1969. She had four children. He had two. “He took on a big task and pulled it off extraordinarily well,” said Dockery. Mr. Dockery recalled that both Mr. Patterson and Shirley were energetic go-getters and expected their children to be go-getters, too. “We could not sleep in as children,” he said. “My parents still don’t.”

Mr. Patterson served on the boards of Lake Washington Technical College for eight years and the SnoValley Senior Center for five. He also served a term on the Carnation City Council including the last year, 2001, as mayor.

One of his last projects was to successfully advocate for a state-of-the-art wastewater-treatment plant for Carnation. Despite opposition, Mr. Patterson pressed the importance to the environment and the public of clean water, said his son. But it was his work for Habitat for Humanity of which he was most proud. His friend from the organization, Tom Granger, said that even three weeks ago, Mr. Patterson was trying to find a way to build more affordable housing. “He said, ‘Tom, how are we going to get this Carnation project through?’ He was still pushing.”

Mr. Patterson was preceded in death by his first wife Anita and his son David Patterson. He is survived by his wife Shirley, of Carnation, children Jim Dockery of Lake Stevens, Janet Dockery of Seattle, Brian Patterson of Grandview, Yakima County, John Dockery of North Bend, Joe Dockery of Carnation and five grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23, at Tolt Congregational Church, 4851 Tolt Ave., Carnation. A reception will follow at the Carnation Senior Center. Remembrances may be made to Habitat for Humanity or Tolt Congregational Church.
Marvin E. Pitzer


Marvin Earl Pitzer died June 17, 2002, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Earl was born the oldest of 5 children on November 28, 1921, to Herbert and Bertha Pitzer of Hydro, Okla. They moved to south Oklahoma City when he was 3 years old, however, Earl enjoyed his summers in Hydro with relatives.

Earl met his first and only love Betty Sue at ages 9 and 7 and they remained steadfast at each others side. He started working at Heim Machine at the age of 14, to help support his family. He graduated from Capitol Hill High School in 1940. He enlisted in the Navy C.B.'s as a machinist mate 2nd class but found himself trained as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, then transferred to the 17th Airborne Military Police Division in Europe.

After WWII he returned home to his family and worked for 37 years to retire from Midwest Machine Co. Earl coached baseball for many years and led the Mayfair Chipmunks to the State playoffs. Earl cleaned the "Winnie Mae" as a young man, which gave him his love for flying and he received his pilots license in 1976 and sky dived at the age of 80.

As Earl had a heart for song he had been a member of the Oklahoma City Barbershop Chorus and longtime choir member at church. Earl, currently Elder, served in all capacities in his church and church family as a member of Penn Avenue Christian Church for 50 years. Earl, a man of great faith and compassion has been the spiritual center of his large and loving family. His quiet understanding and capacity for forgiveness have set an example for all those who remain behind. We will miss him so.

Earl is preceded in death by his parents, siblings, his wife, Betty Sue of 59 years, grandchildren, Jason and Elisha Pitzer. Earl is survived by his mother-in-law, Marie Boudreau; sister, Pat McMurtray; daughter and son-in-law, Carole and Don Ayers; son and daughter-in-law, Albert Earl and Jean Pitzer; grandchildren, Steve and Cindy (Ayers) Larby, Greg and Stacy (Ayers) Pierce, Mark and Julie Ayers, Don and Connie Ayers, Clint and Jill Pitzer and Adrienne Pitzer; great grandchildren, Daniel, Aaron, Carole Ann, Weston, and Jimmy Wilson, Dylan Davis, Cecilia and Jackson Pierce, Amanda, Amelia and Elora Ayers, Anna and Caroline Pitzer; nephews, Craig and Chris Shirley; niece, Cindy and many other family members.

Friends and family who wish to pay their respects may call on Wednesday from 9 am 8 pm at Smith & Kernke, 1401 N.W. 23rd St. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 20, 2002, at Pennsylvania Avenue Christian Church with interment to follow at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery.

Editors Note: The obituary above, was provided to us by Weston Wilson, great grandson of Marvin Pitzer.

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.
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
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, 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

"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)

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