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 # 8 - May 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

-   Scions Honor 17th Airborne MOH Recipients

-   Col. Kormann Works to Get Miley Postage Stamp Approved

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplains Corner
     by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Close to

-  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:



On March 24,1945 at an airfield near Paris, I was one of the members of the 4th platoon, Co. C 194th Glider Infantry loaded abroad a CG4A glider for the impending airborne assault on Wesel, Germany. This was after a steak and apple pie breakfast very early that morning,(First time in the Army - perhaps for the last meal). We were attached to the C-47 tow aircraft by the short towrope. The second of the gliders for this double tow was attached to the same C-47 with the longer rope. The normal sequence for becoming airborne would be short rope glider first, long tow glider second and finally the C-47.

As the C-47 lumbered down the runway, we jerked behind it. The only problem was our tail went up and we proceeded down the runway with the nose down on the wooden skids. The second glider came behind us in the normal mode and soon was airborne. The C-47 then rose into the air. We were still earthbound scrapping along on our nose heading for the hedgerow at the end of the runway. Some of us jumped up and moved to the rear. This weight shift bounced the tail down, and shortly we lifted off. I have often wondered why we weren't cut off on the ground. In any case, we were soon circling in the "V" formation and thought we would now proceed normally to Wesel across the Rhine. Our trouble was not over. While still over France, our long tow glider slipped behind us and then their rope slammed down on top of our wing. Their pilot cut loose and their rope flew up and over us. Their glider landed safety in France.

The C-47 continued to tow us to Germany. As we came across the Rhine the ground was covered with smoke. Up in the clear air, black puffs of the anti-aircraft shell bursts were all around us. We received several holes through the wing from the flak. We cut off right above our designated landing area. The glider pilot made a great landing even though we ripped off part of the tail assembly as we brushed by a tree. We were quickly out the door and hit the ground. We were back into the shooting war not too many weeks after our “Battle of the Bulge” experience.

After more than 50 years have gone by, this glider ride is an indelible episode marked in my memory. In the book "Ridgway's Paratroopers" by Clay Blair released by Dial Press in 1985, the glider flights of Operation Varsity are included. On page 454 of the soft cover issue, the following account is given on double towing gliders:

"This new technique presented an added hazard in flight; the possibility of the short-rope glider yawing into the longer towrope of the trailing glider. However, the risk was deemed to be within acceptable limits for an airborne operation,"

Of the 600 double towed gliders in Operation Varsity, three sets had rope entangled incidents. These are reported on page 455 as follows:

"En route to the rendezvous, the tows and gliders encountered extreme turbulence. The gliders bounced crazily and were so hard to hold in proper position that the pilots had to rotate every fifteen minutes. The troops aboard were fearful and airsick. Three short rope gliders tangled with the long towropes. In these mishaps, two gliders crashed, killing all aboard; three cut loose and survived to land; one (long rope) continued on minus its mate."

The account in Blair's book is very revealing. My recollection varies in that we were the short rope glider. It may be just the reverse. It is very interesting to note that only one of the double tow "rope incidents" gliders made it to Wesel and I, along with my platoon, were on it.

The landing zone area was at a point where the Issel River and the Issel Canal intersected two miles north of Wesel. By afternoon, a large number of C company managed to get together at the south side of the "V" point of the river and canal. We were supposed to make closure with a paratroop company coming from the north but they dropped south of us. We were being shelled and a machine gun was blasting away at us from the woods to the north across an open field. The canal embankment was a natural position for rifles. Captain Strang had us lay up against the embankment shoulder to shoulder and fire away at the Germans in the woods. It was a scene out of the old "Wild West". Several of our company were wounded in that location, and the forward artillery officer was hit once and then hit a second time as he was being carried out. The second shell hit near him again. Waif Wrzeszczynski, our medic, flew out of our foxhole after both hits to aid the wounded. As I recall, the officer did not survive. Walt's bravery in this incident Is reported in “War Stories”.

It was a memorable "Airborne" day.

Editor's Note: If anyone was in the same glider with Franklin Dentz, he mould like to hear from you. His address is 37 Jefferson St, Somerville, NJ 08876


As told by Franklin E. Dentz, 194 C

Ask any combat soldier who they had the most respect for and chances are they'll tell you it was the medic that accompanied their unit. Those guys were subject to the same fire and danger that we were and they carried no weapon! I know I wouldn't have been up there without something to defend myself with! I had good opportunity to observe   our medic, Walt Wrzeszesynski during our days in combat and let me assure you he was a dedicated professional, a credit to the Airbome and the medical branch. I remember some hectic times we had after the Rhine crossing and they show the mettle of the guy.

It was shortly after we had landed near Wesel on March 24. We were in a foxhole together and we were taking a heavy shelling. A cry went up, "Medic! Medic!" It was the dreaded call we all hated to hear as it signaled that someone had been hit and needed help—fast. I hankered down in that hole and began to dig deeper with my entrenching tool, I wanted to get as low as I could to avoid that hot shrapnel that I knew was whipping around out there in the open.  But Walt didn't hesitate a moment. He grabbed his little pack of first aid supplies and piled out of that hole and like 911 and went to the rescue! There was old Walt, out there in the open giving the wounded man attention and the shells landing all around them. Turned out it was our forward observer that had been hit and the aid that Walt gave him probably saved his life.

Even stranger, it had changed a bit by the time my Dad got a copy of the Army's press release. Here’s how it came out:

One Wehrmacht soldier might have suffered a little damage to his German "superman” pride when two 194th Glider Infantry Regiment soldiers strolled up to his foxhole.  Private First Class Franklin Dentz, of Middlesex, New Jersey, hauled him out by the scruff of his neck and took over his weapon. Corporal Walter Wrzeszesynski, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania turned him around in the direction of the rear lines and the prisoner enclosure and started him off.
One thing for sure, we didn’t just stroll up to his hole! I hit him like a ton of bricks! It wasn't as easy as that Army writer made it sound. But he was right on one thing, Watt certainly started him off in fine fashion!

Another thing about medics: they never got as much rest as the other guys. They always had hurt and sick men to look after whenever we stopped. And, every patrol wanted a medic to accompany them, day or night. Medics were few in number, but long in providing service.
Once, just after the Munster battle, we were going into a small town. Walt was in front of me again and we came down a hill running from some .88 shelling and machine gun fire that was coming our way. We crowed a railroad and jumped ever a fence into the backyard of a small house.

Walt ran up the back stairs with me on his coat tails. Entering the house, we found ourselves in the kitchen. Apparently, the homeowners had fled to the safety of the cellar as no one seemed to be around. There on the table was food, evidently set for the noon meal.
Well, you know soldiers. Our zest for the attack bogged down right there. We were always hungry, so we made ourselves scrambled egg sandwiches and started eating. Then, there came that cry again: "Medic! Medic!"
Walt dropped the food and out the door he went. Someone was hurt somewhere and Wait knew he was needed. He knew he could make a difference in life or death. It Is no small wonder to me that Walt later received the Bronze Star for his devotion to duty. I think all medics warranted one.

Later en during the attack on Munster, we moved out and headed across an open field, a maneuver that will almost always get you some very unfriendly fire. I was carrying the SCR300 radio and walking just behind Captain Roy Strang, our CO, and Lieutenant Clausen, the XO. Walt was behind me.
Unexpectedly, a Panzerfaust rocket came In and struck a tree near us and exploded. Lieutenant Clausen was the only one hit, but he got it bad. I saw his eyes roll back in his head and almost immediately he wait into shock.
Before I could clear my head as to what had happened, Walt was there. Together we dragged Clausen to a ditch for some protection from the fire we were receiving. Walt worked feverishly, but it was not to be for Clausen. He lost him. I saw the look in Walt's eyes as Clausen died and it was a look of despair.
After awhile, we started on across the field. This time Walt was about 30 yards in front of me. I was still lugging the radio. Right In front of me, and behind Walt, all of a sudden I saw the camouflaged cover of a small foxhole lift up and a German infantryman raise up. He had a rifle in his hands and never seeing me, he cooly took aim at Walt’s back.
I lunged at him, slapping at the rifle as we both crashed to the ground. I also yelled loudly to Walt to come help me and he hurried back. The German never got off a shot or old Walt would have been a goner.
I took the German's rifle and smashed it against the ground. By this time he had his bands up and was screaming, "Kamerad!"
There were more troops coming up behind as, so we pointed him to the rear and Walt gave him a swift kick to help him on his way!
There was a funny thing about this incident. Somehow, someway, the Army came up with a press release on it. No one ever interviewed me and Walt says no one ever asked him about it. All I know is that the press release was written and it went to my hometown newspaper and was published.
Scions Honor 17th Airborne Medal of Honor Recipients
One of the new initiatives that the Scions have begun is to honor the Division's four recipients of the Medal of Honor each Memorial Day. Three of the four recipients are buried in the US, and one in Margraten Cemetery in the Netherlands.

  Our chaplain Isaac Epps was able to arrange with members of the 17th Airborne family to take on the task of providing a wreath or floral arrangement. We thank those who were willing to do this honorable work.

  The photos below were sent by those who participated. Thanks to all of our members, the Scions can fund such initiatives as this.
George Peters
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment
KIA March 24, 1945
Hello all dear friends,
Today we attended the Memorial Day at the Margraten cemetery. As you all may know the Scions sent us money to buy flowers to decorate the grave of George Peters of the 507th PIR and owner of the Medal of Honor.
The weather was very bad today. Cold and raining whole the day long.
The Scions wanted us to get as many friends of the 17th Airborne Division on the pictures as possible. So we informed every one to be present. Our good friends Luc Horck and Erwin Flohr were not able to come but came the day before.
Flory and Joe Somers
Here are some pictures:
Stuart Stryker
513th Parachute Infantry Regiment
KIA March 24, 1945
17th Veterans Adolph Martinez and Bill Tom, with Adolph's son Mike, lay wreath on the grave of Stuart Stryker, recipient of the Medal of Honor
Clinton Hedrick
194th Glider Infantry Regiment
KIA March 24, 1945

Judy Foster Holland, Daughter of Jim Foster, 194 C
at the Grave of Clinton Hedrick

It was a very special day, and you know, God works things out.  You had asked for a photo of me placing the flowers.  I was by myself on this trip, but as soon as I reached the grave, a man pulled up who is the caretaker of that cemetary.  He was so very nice to me and so very helpful.  We exchanged phone numbers.  Wait until I tell you this. . .
A lady in town had placed flowers there every year but she passed away so wouldn't have placed them this year, and here we show up (Scions) to take over where she left off.  That gives me goose bumps.  The man who made the ribbon put Scion instead of Scions, but it was otherwise beautiful.  That cemetary caregiver said it is extremely windy there and that next year we should use a smaller, low profile wreath.  I appreciate his advice.
I can't begin to tell you what a perfect day it was . . .  THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE PRIVILEGE TO PLACE THESE FLOWERS.  If you don't mind, I would like to continue doing so every year as long as I am able to do so!
This beautiful memorial to Clinton Hedrick was concieved and implemented by Judy's father, Jim Foster 194 / C
Isadore S. Jachman
513th Parachute Infantry Regiment
KIA Jan 2, 1945
17th Veteran John Leather, 194th GIR at the Grave of Isadore Jachman, 513th PIR
Greg Haupt, Cheri Haupt, Lorraine Kline, George Kline, 17th Veteran John Leather, & John's wife, Jerry Leather
Col. Korman Works to Get Miley Postage Stamp Approved
From Col. John Kormann

    Attached are two letters, one from the Postmaster General's Citizens' Advisory Committee accepting our request to consider issuing a stamp and the other from Congressman Harper of Mississippi to the Committee supporting us.  For years, there have been efforts to name Miley the "Father of the U.S. Paratrooper" without success.  If we succeed with what we are trying to do, we will do it in one swoop. The plan is to have the stamp come out in 2015 on August 16, National Airborne Day.
     All the best,
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.

Janan M. Skinner
daughter of Thomas A. Skinner, 513 PIR, KIA 3/24/45

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

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

Peter D. Lynch

son of Dr. William F. Lynch, 193rd & 194th GIR
Thanks for joining us to honor the men of the 17th Airborne! 
Chaplains Corner

by Isaac Epps

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

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

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Close to Completion

Starting last winter, Jos Bex took on the job of translating the book, "Die Luftlanding" into English. He has singled out 180 pages of personal accounts about Operation Varsity that cover March 24th and 25th,1945; and that include the action where the 17th Airborne was involved.
  Scions Chaplain & Historian, Isaac Epps has been helping Jos with the project and reports that:
   "I became aware of the fact that this will be the definitive report about Operation Varsity. Here you find accounts of the landings from the Allied perspective; the German perspective; and the view from the locals who lived in the drop and landing zones.
   Once this effort is complete, Jos will add many "now and then" photos to these personal accounts; and he will have it bound and put it up for sale. Look in this publication in the future for further information as to how you can purchase this one of a kind document.
   He is now asking that any Veteran who wants his personal story about Varsity included in this effort to mail or e-mail that to him asap; as he is trying to finish this project by the end of June. Information follows as to how that can be done.
  Thanks to Jos for putting in the time to make this important information about Operation Varsity available to those of us "over here".
  Jos Bex
  Lemoen 9
  6852 DS Huissen
  The Netherlands

Col. Kormann wrote the following text to promote the translation:
“This unique book written by a German on the ground during the worst day for the Allied airborne in World War II is the most extensively researched and documented of its kind”.
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 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 magazines on CD
  During WWII, the 17th published a number of magazines, or newspapers under the title of "Talon". The two most well known are "Talon in Ardennes" and "Talon Crosses the Rhine". In addition we have located several issues published before deployment to Europe, and an issue published in France after the war ended. We have scanned these issues, and combined them on one CD, so that they can be made available to our membership. It is thanks to those who have donated some of these materials and to our members for their support. Thanks to our membeship, 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

Regular membership in the "Scions of the 17th Airborne" is open to any descendant, or family member of any trooper who served with the 17th during its existence. Our mission is to insure that the sacrifice and history of the 17th Airborne Division is not forgotten. All veterans of the 17th are considered as "Distinguished Honorary Members" of the Scions.  We exist to honor you, our veterans.

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

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

The website is located at:

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

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

Rose Friday, daughter of Edward Friday (194th)

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

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

Executive Committee:

Cindy Heigl - daughter of Tony Heigl (193rd)
Melanie Sembrat - daughter of Harry Sembrat (513th)
Robert Smith - brother of Levert L. Smith (194th)
Isaac Epps - son of Ralph Epps (194th)
From Jerry O’Brien
Dear Vets, Scions, and Friends of the 17th ,
I hope everyone has had a meaningful and enjoyable Memorial Day.
Pat and I were at Arlington National Cemetery today.  It was a beautiful day, and there were many, many visitors, who were visiting all parts of the cemetery including the ceremony where the President laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
We were there to visit and lay flowers at several sites, but we did stop at the 17th Airborne’s Memorial Plaque.  Someone had placed a red rose on the Plaque, as many of the graves and monuments are decorated with a single rose on this day.  We also put a small bouquet by the Plaque. 
One of the people placing roses at graves was a retired military man in his dress white VFW uniform (pic attached).  He said he was of Filipino descent and his father, who served during WWII, was buried a few plots from one we were visiting.  So we had a nice chat, and his accent and appearance made me think of our beloved Bill Tom.  Bill, hope you see this and are doing well.
We placed flowers at a number of resting places including the grave of my father and mother, the grave of my uncle who was a Marine in WWII,  the grave of a relative who died of injuries suffered in Vietnam, and the Columbarium niche of the 17th’s Morris Turner.  Mr. Turner became a very special person for me.   I first met him at the Reunion in 2002 and visited with him and his family at each reunion until the last.  He was the senior NCO in Battery A of the 466th FA Battalion, worked directly with my father who was the executive officer of the battery until his death in Operation Varsity, and told me some things I could never have learned otherwise about my father.  On my father’s death, and with the battery’s other officer’s incapacitated, Sgt. Turner took command of the battery until a replacement was obtained.  A great soldier, an exemplary human being, and another contributor to the legend of the 17th.
I know that others are doing their parts to keep this day of remembrance special, including the friends in Europe whose tributes are greatly appreciated, and members of the 17th and other Scions who are honoring our heroes including Medal of Honor recipients; but I wanted to let you know that this Scion is also trying to keep the memory and dedication going.
From Mike Martinez, son of 17th veteran Adolph Martinez

  Bill Tom, 194th GIR, and his wife Linda joined my dad Adolph L Martinez, Jr, 513th PIR, Company C, and the rest of my family at Golden Gate National Cemetery last Monday 5/27/13 to honor Metal Of Honor recipient Stuart S Stryker, 513th PIR, Company E.

   The ceremony was attended by my family; My wife Gina, son Jeremy (SJPD), daughter Sara (20), daughter in law Leonor, grandsons Michael (14), Jacob (12), David (3) and close family friend David Wonnell, USAF.

17th Airborne vets: Bill K. Tom, 194th GIR, Medic and his wife Linda and (my dad) Adolph L Martinez, Jr. 513th PIR, Company C, POW/escaped.  One of 15 surviving combatants at end of day 1/4/45, in a field just below Dead Man’s Ridge near Flamierge when a Tiger Tank rolled up and put his gun into the doorway of a stone manger (barn) holding dozens of wounded men.
Fellow trooper Sandy Lunkamen spoke German and leaped in front of the tank shouting in German “Stop! What are you going to do? These men are wounded!” The German tank commander replied “we are going to kill these wounded and then we are going to kill the rest of you unless you lay down your arms and surrender”. Lunkamen radioed HQ for instruction. HQ sent a Red Cross ambulance to site with instructions to negotiate the surrendered of the 15 in exchange for the wounded about to be killed by the tank commander. Dad was a POW in Stalag IVB until the day he escaped in the city of Leipzig on 4/12/45 (day Roosevelt died). After escaping, he and follow trooper Roy Rogel, made their way back to allied lines taking German POW’s along the way.

  Memorial day was special and it was a joy to participate with my dad and Bill. I also had the great good fortune to be able to accompany my dad and fellow trooper Lawton Clark, 194 GIR (now diseased) and his wife Pat back to Flamierge in December, 2007 for the dedication of the memorial for the 17th Airborne. That was also a very special event and one I will always remember. Our European hosts from the Golden Talon Association were wonderful and the people of Belgium welcomed our 17th AB Vets like they were long lost family… As indeed they are…

Mike Martinez
From: Robert L. Readinger, Jr.
Narberth PA

I received my membership package a few days ago.  If this e mail is reaching Michele Smith let me tell you that you did a first class job and I appreciate your efforts.  If this is not received my Michele, please pass this on.
This coming Memorial Day, Like every Memorial Day in my past, I will be heading to a neighborhood in Philadelphia called Bridesburg.  This is the home my Father and all of his siblings were born in and where his older sister still lives.  There is a parade and a old recognition of those who served and those who gave their life for our country.
I would like to make some copies of your information for my brothers and sisters as well as for Aunts, Uncles and cousins.  My question is this, is membership to your organization limited to actual descendants of members of the 17th?  I would like to share membership information but do not want to overstep the boundaries of your organization.
Thank  you again for a great job, I do appreciate it.

Editors reply - I have forwarded your email to our VP, Michele Smith who does a wonderful job with our membership packets. Our membership is open to extended family of  any 17th veteran. We welcome you all to join us in honoring the men of the 17th Airborne.

From Olaf van Hoften

Dear Mr Siergiej
I wrote a article about our reasons to join the Scions and attend commemorations and Ardennes walks.
Hopefully its good enough for the next newsletter.
  When reading the newsletter I read the amazement of the US veterans and scions about the reception of US guests by us Europeans and for what we do.
But...Why do we do this?
Let me start to try and explain.
My name is Olaf, from the Netherland.
My fellow Dutch friends Tjalf and Oszkar are all Dutch and Scions members. Jos Bex got us into the scions.
The 3 of us have been attending Ardennes walks wit a large group of re-enacters from all over Europe and sometimes even Americans.
So, why DO we do this?
Hard to explain.
When we walk in the Ardennes in snow and cold we Dutchmen used to shout  WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
The answer was supposed to be FOR FUN!.  Of course because most feel miserable only a few answer and most probably think something rude.
But FUN is a big part. The cammeraderie in our group of friends and the pride when completing a 15 mile walk in the cold and snow, 3 day events or surviving a night next to a campfire in only the uniform and overcoat while its around freezing.
But Tjalf, Oszkar and me are Dutch and the 17th didn't fight in the Netherlands.
The thing is we were neutral in WW2 but the Germans invaded and occupied our country in May 1940.
Our freedom was only restored after much bloodshed and hardship.
Because during Market Garden Dutch citizens helped the Allies the Germans stopped all transport to Western Netherlands in late 1944.
That winter is called the Hunger winter. Many people starved to death.
So we were brought up by storys about the war.
I was allways interested about the war and it came together when we bought a Ww2 Dodge Weapons Carrier, drove it to commemorations and met veterans.
This was so impressive I actually "adopted" a few veterans and their wifes as family!
I also started to collect Ww2 uniforms, gear and related items.
Gradually I got involved in re-enactment. I primarily portray a US medic but also british and Dutch WW2 soldiers.
And now to answer the question at hand. Why do we do this.
Well, its also about respect and gratitude to those who fought for our freedom!!!!
The allies all fought against oppression and for me/us its a HONOR to meet the ones who participated in it as well as meeting scions.
The veterans are heroes, clear and simple.
 Allthough they don't admit it and just say they were drafted or it was their duty, they are heroes.
They gave us the opportunity to grow up in freedom and safety.
We portray soldiers but most of us never seen war for real thanks to them.
In portraying a WW2 soldier we try to honor them and educate those who know little about the war and its horrors.
Meeting 17 AB veterans like Melvin Lagoon, John Schumacher, Curtis Gadd, Bob Quegan and James Hoover is so special for me. So we enjoy to make their visit a memorable one and above all to show them they didn't fought, suffer and die in vain.
They defeated Evil and as such began a period of 68 years of freedom and counting in Western Europe!!
So to conclude a lenghty story.
From Scion Jeff Schumacher

On Friday, April 26th 2013, family, friends and acquaintances gathered to honor the life of Earl Kenneth Cavanah of Independence, Missouri.  What was immediately evident was that Ken - Kenny - was a special man, and a friend to many.  The line of visitors wound through the church lobby, parlor and sanctuary - moving along slowly and respectfully, exchanging hello's or nods, a kind word or perhaps an amusing anecdote.  A projector shone images of Ken's life - from early days, in his army uniform, with his young bride, with his family at gatherings, birthdays and holidays - and just anywhere Ken was.  Those there to pay respects made their way to the front of the sanctuary, where family received their condolences, handshakes and hugs, among and beside pictures of Ken, smiling.  Of special note and significance to the readers of this newsletter would be the folded flag, and the cap from Ken's uniform, with unit patch and Combat Infantry Badge displayed thereon. 
That the church was full to 'standing room only' that morning would probably not surprise anyone who knew or spent time with Ken.  It seemed the entire community was there, although it was noted that Ken was probably wishing everyone had not made such a fuss.  During the memorial service, there were numerous testaments to the kind of person and family man we'd all be proud to know and lucky to have as a friend or mentor - a wonderful mix of humorous stories and heartfelt remembrances of Ken with and among his family and his community.
After the memorial service, police escorted the procession to Mt. Washington Cemetery, where car after car filed in and through the cemetery, and lined both sides of the path to park.  Friends moved up to and gathered at the crest of a hill, where final thoughts and prayers were offered, and Military Honors were rendered.  And so, on a cool, pleasant spring day, among the tall trees and with the birds singing, we bade farewell.

Editors Note: We thank Jeff for attending the memorial service for Trooper Ken Cavanah. When we learn of the passing of one of our veterans, we search our records for any Scion who may live close enough to represent the Scions. Thanks go out to our Chaplain, Isaac Epps, and our Executive Committee for helping in this effort.
From : Xavier van Daele
Subject: under the snow!
My dear friends! I've been thinking about you all today! It snowed hard today! When I got home after work, I have abandoned my car back to the village and walk home through roads with snow on more than 1.50m thick! I had snow 3 feet deep! In addition, with the wind, it was a real blizzard! During the 20 minute walk to my house, I thought of you, 68 years ago! In our Belgian Ardennes! And you had more threat of sniper! Or a Tiger. Where do you draw the courage to move forward? Thank you for your service my friends! God Bless you, your comrades, your brothers in arms! God Bless America! Your Belgium friend. Xavier
Ceremonies at Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

The 17th Airborne was represented by our good friends in the Margraten Memorial Group

We thank everyone involved for honoring our fallen Troopers

The following photos were contributed by Joe and Flory Somers, Jos Bex, and Joseph Bisscheroux.
From Jos Bex

Most Dutch 17th AB friends were present on memorial Day 2013 at the US Military Cemetery in Margraten on Sunday May 26th.
I was very proud to have laid the wreath on behalf of the 17th AB
US Air Force cadets
Joe Bisscheroux Placing Rose
Wreath on behalf of the 17th AB Division From the Margraten Memorial Group
Scion Robert Blethrow sent these photos of his Memorial Day
Gentlemen: My best regards to all. Our true heroes on this Memorial day. My father was Gordon Daniel Harrington. He was a glider pilot and assigned to A/194th GIR. If anyone knows or remembers him I would love to hear from them.

Gordon D. Harrington
2-1 AD DCO
Fort Bliss , TX
W: (915) 744-7302
BB: (915) 727-1289
C: (915) 494-0210

Sick Call

Harry Sembrat
513 HQ 1

  Harry Sembrat is at home from the hospital, after undergoing surgery. His daughter, Melanie reports that he is receiving Hospice care, and requests that her father be kept in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
  Cards, letters and calls would be welcome, at the address below.

Harry Sembrat
183 Georgetown Court
Voorheesville, N.Y. 12186
 518-469-0033 (cell)


James J. Deignan
139th Abn.Eng.Bn, Co C
DEIGNAN, James J., Age 90, passed away on Mother's Day, May 12th, 2013. Jim is survived by his Sister Peg Lyons, Brother-in-law, Frank Lyons, Niece, Rosemary Lyons, and Nephew, Francis Lyons. His late sister, Mary, passed away in 2003. His beautiful Southern Belle and beloved wife, Nellie, passed away in 2007. Jim's parents were Irish Immigrants. His mother, Mary, arrived as an indentured servant for County Cavan, and his father, John, from County Leitrim, and spent his life as a police officer in Providence, RI. During World War 2, Jim was one of the few survivors of Company C, 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion, the 17th Airborne Division. His Army Separation Record says that Jim jumped 14 times, gliding 5 times, into Enemy Occupied Territory, capturing and holding enemy positions, and earning numerous Battle Stars. Jim witnessed, first hand, the savagery of the Nazi and the SS, but, Jim never spoke about the horrors of the War, or his service to our Country. A devout Catholic, Jim could not understand why God allowed the War to happen, and became a Monk in the Order of the Cisterians, and with the other Monks, Jim worked in the fields of Massachusetts and prayed daily. After 7 years, the Monastery was closed due to an outbreak of TB. Being a Vet, Jim was put on a train and sent to sunny Florida and Bay Pines Hospital. After spending a year convalescing, Jim became a Letter Carrier, and married his beautiful Southern Belle, Nellie. Yankee Jim, as a Letter Carrier, Committeeman, and lifetime member of the "National Association of Letter Carriers," Jim helped desegregate the Letter Carriers Union, and happily embraced the Southern Social ostracizing that followed. Jim always believed that the job belonged to the best man. Jim was an exceptional athlete, became a scratch golfer, and enjoyed his latter years watching on Cable TV the Catholic and Golf channels, which he thought was a miracle from God. Jim was a "man's" man. A true role model to all the men and women that knew him. Jim always wanted to help anyone that counseled with him. A lifelong Parishioner of Christ the King Catholic Church, with many friends at St. Patricks, Jim will be truly missed by all! On Friday, May 31st, a Visitation will be held at 9 AM, at Christ the King Catholic Church. A Rosary will be said at 9:30 AM, and a Funeral Mass will be held at 10 AM. Jim will be interred at the Veteran's Cemetery in Bushnell, Fl. In lieu of flowers, Please make a Donation to either Christ the King Catholic Church, or St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Published in on May 26, 2013
Richard D. Manning
513 E
Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Assn.


Life Member Richard Dey Manning (513 E) died on Monday, May 20th, 2013

Born on Sept. 2, 1924, he was the beloved husband of Melanie; father of Jane Fraze, Allison Dowd, Blair Garrido and Joan Hagan, and nephew Fred McKenney; grandfather of 10.

As a graduate of the University of North Carolina and its law school, he practiced corporate law at Cravath Swaine & Moore in New York City before founding Manning, Carey, Redmond & Tully.

He was also a co-founder with his wife of the original El Humidor in Wilkes Barre. His integrity, wit and honesty and his love of his Boxer dogs, a good party and cigars will be fondly remembered.

Melanie will miss him and love him forever.

Services will be held at the convenience of the family through McCune Funeral Home, Mountain Top.
Stuart Van Scoten Jones
507 HQ 1

JONES, Stuart Van Scoten "Doc", died peacefully in Port Richey on May 11, 2013. He was preceded in death by his grandchild, Christopher. He served proudly as a member of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII. He is survived by his wife, Catherine of 63 years; sons, Andrew (Rosemary), Richard (Mary), Stanley (Susan); his grandchildren, Benjamin (Natalie), Laura Tofts (Matthew), Joshua, Alicia, Kristen, Alexander, Steven (Rebecca); his great-grand-children, Callum Tofts, Mia and Mason Jones. Friends and relatives are invited to a funeral mass at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Hudson at 11 am on May 14, 2013. Interment in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be directed to Gulfside Regional Hospice or the Sullivan County, NY SPCA.
Robert M. Burns
513 F
Life Member of the 17th Airborne Division Association

It is with great sadness that I share with you and my fellow Scions that my father, Bob Burns, 513 PIR, F Co., made his final jump on April 1, 2013. Daddy, we pray that you had a soft landing on the other side. We know that your family and all your paratrooper buddies were waiting to greet you. We love and miss you so much.
Dad did not make contact with the 17th Airborne Association until 2004 when I was helping him do some research and came across information on the Association. At the time, Dad was working on writing down some of his memories from his WWII days. By the time Dad joined the Association, my mother's health wasn't very good. So, Dad was unable to travel to any of the meetings. But, oh how he enjoyed his contact with the Association! Dad was able to re-connect with some of buddies by phone and through Christmas cards. It meant the world to him!
My family and I want to thank everyone for their prayers over the past few months as Dad's health continued to decline. Although I am still busy caring for my mother, I happily continue my membership in the Scions in honor and memory of my father.
I have included a couple of photos of Dad and his obituary in 3 attachments for you.

Karen Ann Burns Pfeifer
Bob Burns, age 89, passed away at a Fort Worth hospice on Monday, April 1, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with congestive heart failure and recurring pneumonias. Service: Mass of Christian Burial, 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 3312 Dryden Rd., Fort Worth, 76109. Interment: Laurel Land Memorial Park. Visitation: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew Catholic Church. Born on Feb. 19, 1924, in Somerville, Mass., to John J. Burns and Jennie V. Coffey Burns, Bob spent most of his childhood in nearby Watertown. He proudly served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a paratrooper with the 17th and 82nd Airborne Divisions in the European Theater of Operations. Bob retired in 1988 after 37 years of continuous service in the food industry, initially as a district supervisor for Liggett Rexall Drug Company of Boston, Mass., owner and operator of Colonial Terrace Restaurant of Winchester, Mass., and lastly as an institutional food salesman with Byrne Brothers Food Service of Mansfield. Bob was an avid baseball fan of the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers and enjoyed exercising regularly after his retirement. He was a longtime parishioner at St. Andrew Catholic Church and a devoted and caring husband, father and grandfather who will be greatly missed. Bob was preceded in death by his parents and 11 brothers and sisters. Survivors: His loving wife, Daphna Mae Bell Burns of Fort Worth; son, Larry G. Burns and wife, Madelyn, of Sun City West, Ariz.; daughter, Karen A. Pfeifer and husband, Ken, of Arlington; grandson, Adam K. Pfeifer and wife, Erin, of San Antonio; and many nieces and nephews. Memorials: Donations may be made to St. Andrew Catholic Church or Odyssey Hospice.
Published in Star-Telegram on April 4, 2013
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