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 # 10 - July 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 - Stories of My Father, Warren Scott
     by Linda Miller

-   Trooper Stories - A Scion visits Varsity, "Circa 2013"
     by Peter Schleck

-   17th Vets in Minnesota Lunch Group
    by Adam Coolong

-   Walk of Honor Teaser
    by Isaac Epps

-   Scions Memorial Fund
     by Ed Siergiej Jr.

-   Welcome New Scion Members

-   Chaplain's Corner
     by Isaac Epps, Scion Chaplain

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Completed

-  Scions 2013 Gathering Schedule

-  Jersey Shore Mini-Reunion

-  17th Airborne Online Store

Thunder Mail Call by Bill Tom

- Letters From Home and Abroad

-  Sick Call


 Trooper Stories
Each month "Thunder From Heaven" features a story about a 17th trooper in his own words, or as told to a family member or friend. We encourage those who would like to submit an article to send them in to us at:

"Stories of My Father"
Warren Scott, 681st GFAB

by Linda Miller

 My father, Warren Frank Scott, Scotty to his friends and family, was born in June in 1923 in Syracuse, NY. His father Samuel D. Scott served in WWI. His mother, Gertrude Grubert, was a daughter of German immigrants. My Dad had two brothers and two sisters. His brothers, Donald and Robert served in the Navy during WWII. My Mom, Janet Sweeney, “set her cap” for Dad before he went to war. Dad did not get involved with anyone prior to leaving for the war. He did not want to make anyone wait for him or worrying about him while he was overseas. My sister and I were just a hopeful dream in our Mother’s heart. Dad enlisted in the airborne because he knew the airborne took only the best and bravest men. Many came but few were chosen. He served with men he called his brothers. He always told me, “If you can eat, shower and shave out of the same helmet; you can do anything!”
My Dad was a forward observer in the 681st Glider Field Artillery Battalion in the 17th Airborne or as the Army defines it, Field Artillery Observer. He served with a party of men that were assigned to work together. He considered that team his family. The definition of a Field Artillery Observer is, Directs fire of an artillery unit from a forward position. Observes shell bursts and adjusts fire by forward observation or computation methods; consults with commanders of supported unit in determination of appropriate artillery targets, normal barrage, and zones of defense; trains personnel in procedures of artillery operation; organizes observation posts; sets up and maintains communication systems. The requirements to be a Field Artillery Observer now are: Must know artillery methods in direction of fire, use of fire direction instruments, such as aiming circle, BC telescope, and range finder. Must be familiar with military maps and their interpretation. Should have experience with firing battery and know potentialities and limitations of particular type of artillery involved. The knowledge of mathematics through trigonometry is desirable. Military experience including graduation from artillery officers’ school is essential. The present day title is Fire Support Officer (FSO). The information about definition and requirements of Field Artillery Forward Observer was taken from (War Department Technical Manual (TM 12-406).
I was fortunate, my Dad talked about his service all the time. Many veterans did not share their war experiences with their families and friends. He shared many stories but I still instinctively knew he did not share everything with me. There were things he could not share; things he did not want to share with anyone. There were things he took with him when he died in 1993. He was only 70 years old.  

Stories he shared with me were mostly plucked out of his memory in short story context and brief sentences. I do not have anything in historical sequence. I embraced every single moment of remembrance he shared with me and took it as a duty of mine to carry his stories with me, for him.
Dad shared a story with me about a time he was on the battlefield in France with one of his brother soldiers and they were talking and getting prepared to fight. He remembered seeing Generals on a hill watching the battle. As his buddy talked to Dad shrapnel went into one cheek and came out the front of his mouth. The shrapnel had taken teeth upon existing. His buddy never stopped talking and Dad said, “I think you’ve been hit.” His friend never knew he was hit until the moment Dad told him. He was taken off the battlefield by the medics.

Another time my Dad’s best buddy, Carlton, was hit on the battlefield. The bullet took out a calf muscle in his leg. My Dad frantically packed his leg to stop the bleeding and got him to the medics. The medics loaded Carlton on the stretcher and Dad did not see him again until he got a letter from Ken Anderson after the war. He wrote that Carlton was doing fine. Ken Anderson was another fellow solider and a good friend of my Dad’s. Dad wrote about Carlton in a letter to Ken Anderson on April of 1993. My Dad wrote, “I was with Carlton when he got hit. I put a tourniquet on his upper leg and two large wound bandages in the hole in his leg. I got the medics to come down to pick him up. I had a time with him as he was thrashing around and kept loosening the tourniquet. He kept screaming about the high brass that was standing on the hill behind us on the battlefield looking over the German positions, which he figured caused the unusual shelling. The last time I saw Carlton he was on a stretcher with his knapsack on his chest which he said he needed because it had his wife and kids pictures in it.” Ken asked my Dad to
come to 17th Association reunions yearly but Dad never went.
Dad also remembered being a member of a search party in a cave that was rumored to hold German soldiers. They had to clear the cave. My Dad described the scene moving into the cave and seeing German soldiers up ahead as they went deeper into the cave and turned a corner. When Dad spoke to them in German the soldiers laid their weapons down and surrendered. He never knew whey they surrendered but he felt he had surprised them by speaking German. Thank God my Dad learned German from his grandfather when he was a boy. That saved his life.

My Dad talked about being the guy that held most of the units pay, like a bank. He said if he did not act as the bank his buddies would spend all their pay in a day. He would hold onto their money and dole it out like allowance. Dad was the backbone that held his unit together. He told me about “borrowing” a jeep from the motor pool to go hunting in a German forest for deer. His unit didn’t have fresh meat and he knew he could provide it. He did bring back deer meat and returned the jeep. He would have been in trouble for “borrowing” the jeep but his superiors could kind of look the other way for fresh meat.

He told me about a farmhouse that was occupied by Germans. When Dad’s party arrived they could hear commotion in the farmhouse. The Germans were still in the farmhouse with the family that owned the farm. Dad’s party hid in a ditch near the farmhouse. When the Germans started pouring out, one by one, my Dad took them out or as he put it, picked them off, one by one. He said it was weird how they just coming out one by one. After the farmhouse incident my Dad had to search the German soldiers bodies for important documents and maps. Dad said,  “I mostly found photos of their wives and kids.”
Dad did not talk much about the battle of the bulge. He did say many men were lost from his unit and he came out of the battle with some frostbite on his toes and fingers. He told me he kept two pair of socks. He had one pair of socks on his feet and one pair inside his shirt close to his body to keep the extra pair dry and warm. He changed his socks often to prevent further frostbite and trench foot. He said it was bitterly cold.

My father became very good at his job as a forward observer. He shared with me that he hunted the Germans, like hunting deer at home. His Dad had taught him how to hunt and he used the same technique to track Germans. He tracked them and killed them. He had hand-to-hand combat a few times mostly because he was part of a forward observation party. He and his team would come up on German soldiers while they were out locating the Germans to call in fire.
Dad was in a glider a few times also. Most of the time the gliders were loaded with ammunition and fresh troops headed for the front. He recalled a time in a glider when the Germans were firing at the glider from the ground. The soldier next to Dad bent over to pray and a bullet came up through the floor of the glider and hit the soldier right in the center of his forehead. He died instantly.

He remembered some soldiers were outwardly scared and sometimes cried when things got tough. I asked him once if he was ever scared and he answered, “If you’re not scared you going to die. Fear helps you to stay alert.” He also said he accepted his death and embraced death as if he were already dead. He told me that freed him up to do his job.

Dad always said if it were not for the war he probably could have been friendly with some of the German soldiers. They were just doing a job just like he was. He got good at doing his job. He could kill a German solider without much concern and he had accepted his own death. He considered he might not be coming home. When the war ended in Europe Dad wanted to continue the fight and go to Japan. He was willing to go with the 82nd or the 101st; whichever one was going on to fight. The war in the Pacific ended soon after the war ended in Europe and he never got the chance to go to Japan, thank God. 
My Dad got so good at being a solider he was not sure if he could go home again. He thought he would not know how to relate to anyone at home. How would he tell anyone what he saw or did? When Dad came home he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but back then they called it “War Nerves.” He also had survivor’s guilt. He asked me more then once why he survived when so many of his buddies died. He went to our family Doctor. The Doctor said to Dad, “You have to talk to anyone that will listen to get your war experiences out of yourself.” This helped Dad. He talked about his time in service to family members and friends. Every time there was a WWII documentary on the television my sister and I would ask, “Where you there Dad?” as we stood up and pointed at the screen.
 I know my Dad is waiting for me in heaven along with the other men that served in the 17th. He’s holding a place for me.
I miss my Dad every single day. He was a large, handsome man that everyone was drawn to. As I close my eyes and think about my Dad I can picture him in his plaid shirt and pants that were always too short. He was a massive man. He lumbered when he walked. He was someone that would intimidate you and make you feel safe at the same time. He was a man of a few words but you knew he was powerful. I had the pleasure of speaking to men that served with Dad and I also wrote letters and emails to surviving members of his unit. I asked them how they remembered him and the thing I heard all of the time was that my Dad was a good looking, tall guy, quiet and someone you could count on.

My Dad had a hard time showing emotion. I knew he loved me. After a visit at Mom and Dad’s home I would always asked him to stand up from his comfortable chair to hug me. I always got a bone-crushing hug that would almost lift me off my feet. He was formidable. He was a man I knew would run into a burning building to save a loved one. He was my hero. I was shocked when he died. I thought he was invincible. I thought he would live forever. After all, he made it through WWII with only a little frostbite. I still think about what Dad would do when I’m in a bind. He gave me courage and fortitude. After all, “If you can eat, shower and shave out of the same helmet, you can do anything.” I still live by that and I do not fear anything.
There is not enough written about the 17th Airborne and the sacrifices they made to preserve the freedoms we take for granted in America. I want everyone reading this to know my Dad loved his unit and the men that served in the 17th. He was one of the lucky ones that came home. Many men from the 17th did not come home and their graves are all over Europe.
I attended the 17th Airborne reunion in 2003 in Fayetteville, NC the home of the Airborne Museum. My Dad had already passed by then. I was truly humbled sitting in a room filled with 17th Airborne veterans. I cannot describe the depth of my emotion when the color guard paraded down the small aisle of the event room. I was overwhelmed with emotion. My Dad and many other Dads chose to step into harms way and lay their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. There are no words that can describe my commitment to the veterans that served with my Dad and I am focused on the mission of spreading the word of the accomplishments of the 17th. I am eternally grateful to be a member of the Scions. I am proud to be the daughter of a veteran, Warren Scott, 17th Airborne, 681st Glider Field Artillery Battalion.
I want to share a prayer written by one of the veterans of the 17th Airborne:

Friends, on behalf of the 17th Airborne Division, “Thunder from Heaven”, we have come to pay our respects to a departed trooper. Ties of Blood, Sweat, and Tears bind those who fought together in War. We honor him in life, as we honor him in death, because he was unafraid to take on the most fearful assignment of War- an Airborne landing in the midst of an enemy. As a champion of liberty, he demonstrated the kind of courage, which will always be an example to the people of our land. We are certain that his deeds will receive reward in the world to come. And as we pray that he may now rest in peace, confident that the ideals, which he fought for, will live on forever. This we ask on behalf of that great fraternity of fighting men; the 17h Airborne, “Thunder from Heaven.” Written by: Al Sequlveda (193 HQ1) 17th Airborne Association.
This article was written with love and commitment to the memory of the 17th Airborne, Golden Talons, Thunder from Heaven and my Dad.
"A Scion Visits Varsity, Circa 2013"

by Peter Schleck

 There is no way to comprehend World War II, for me at least, perhaps, than to try and bring it down to the "Saving Private Ryan" level.

Some weeks back, I attended the funeral, near Albany, New York, of a veteran of my late Dad's World War II airborne division, the 17th.  Harry Sembrat lived to be 91.  His daughter, Melanie, as so many here know, is also active with us in the group of descendants of these veterans, the Scions, as we endeavor to keep their history alive after they are all gone.  The Sembrats have been regulars at the Lancaster mini-reunions.

Over dinner after her Dad's funeral, Melanie told those of us gathered about a soldier named Michael O'Connor.  He was in the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division with Harry. 

As those here well know, on March 24, 1945, Harry, Michael, and scores of other American and British (6th) airborne troops crossed the Rhine in the largest airborne operation of World War II, Operation Varsity.  Some went in gliders (not recommended), others with parachutes (slightly better but not really?) like Harry and Mike. At this juncture, I want to let Melanie tell it, based on an account offered to her by her father, Harry:

 "I typed this up just a week or so before Dad died:   
(HARRY SEMBRAT): Operation Varsity - I got to the door and thought, what the hell am I doing here? Next thing I thought - I volunteered - and then I was out the door.   That quick. 

On the way down, I got tangled up with Mike O'Connor stuck in my suspension lines.  Landed in a tree.  O'Connor, from Regimental HQ - asked me for my bayonet - to cut himself out of his harness - I told him he didn't need it - just hit his quick release.  I let myself down by pulling my reserve and climbing down. 

Robert J. Capa asked me what my name was - he took my picture in the tree - I told him I didn't have time.  I tried to get in touch with him after the war - called the Times Union - found out he had died. 

When I was at the Reunion at Valley Forge - I called the Michael J. O'Connor house and spoke to someone there; I couldn't speak - they probably thought I was drunk - I got choked up and couldn't speak. I wanted to tell his family he didn't suffer. I wanted to tell them he didn't know what hit him. We assembled after getting out of the tree - Me, O'Connor, PFC McAdam, Major Bachmann.  Major asked us to see if we could find the sniper; we couldn't. I lost track of McAdam when climbing up a ditch by a single RR track.  I always wished I had never helped Mike get down from that tree.'  

(MELANIE SEMBRAT):  He only told me his regrets about getting Mike down the week (or so) before he died; maybe once while at Lancaster this year. He carried that with him all his life.  MMS"

Attached are just a few photos I took of my own visit to the ETO in the early part of July 2013.  Some are from the American Military Cemetery in the Netherlands, near Margraten, where Michael O'Connor rests with so many others.

Another is of me, somewhere in the Operation Varsity Landing Zone of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, near Hamminkeln (which is near Wesel), Germany.  I may or may not have found the tree, but this was definitely the right zip code.

The sun was very bright at Margraten, but I used my iPad to take a picture of my iPhone resting on top of Mike O'Connor's headstone, and if you look closely, on my iPhone is a photo of Melanie and her Dad, Harry.

That's all I've got for you, really.  But it was quite a trip.  Okay, it included my visit to the graves of 30 men from my Dad's 193rd Glider Infantry Regiment, most of whom died on 7 January 1945, a very bad day, and now rest with General Patton at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg.  Not least of which, among the tidbits here, was that my Dad got to come home, like Melanie's, and I got to be born, so you can imagine the mix of emotions one might feel during such a visit.

Like my trip to the Ardennes in 2003, the family Somers (Flory, Joe, and Lilly) were most gracious hosts, story tellers, tour guides, and dear friends to me, as they are to all those who were in the 17th and their kin.

I have included here, also, a link to a YouTube video, which speaks for itself and lets you see and hear from Flory and Joe:

All of this suggests to me that the time may be right for a Scions-led trip in 2015, for the 70th Anniversary of the 17th's Travels in the ETO (1944-45).  More on that soon? (P.S.  I am a fan of the New York Giants, so there is my red hat.  Harry and Mike were from New York, as well.  Melanie still is.  I am from New Jersey).

Son of the late Robert W. Schleck (193 C and 194 D Gliders, 17th Airborne Division)

"17th Vets in Minnesota Lunch Group"
by Adam Coolong

As I have written about in previous Thunder From Heaven issues, I found the Scions group as a result of a search for information on my grandfather’s World War II army service.
During this search I was given the name of one of the past presidents of the 17th Airborne Division Association, Ken Aumock.  Ken not only served as president, he was also the keeper of the “War Room” memorabilia display that was featured at the Association’s annual reunions.
As it turns out, Ken lives about ten miles from me here in the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.  I called Ken and told him that I was the grandson of a 17th trooper, and that I was looking to find more about the outfit he served with.  He was very gracious and immediately told me that he and some of the other 17th vets who reside in and around the Twin Cities got together for lunch every six weeks or so, to visit and trade stories.  He invited me to the next one, which at the time was only a few days away.  Serendipity!
That was over a year ago now, and I haven’t missed a lunch meeting with this great group in all that time.  We get together at an Applebee’s restaurant, we eat, we (well, they, not me) share stories and laugh together.  There are usually a handful of 17th troopers, their wives, and some of their kids.  Occasionally there are other attendees, like members of local Airborne groups, and even the odd historian or two.  
There were four troopers at our latest lunch this past week, including Bob Ferguson (466/A), Wayne DeHaven (513/F), Mel Dahlberg (517) and Ken Aumock (17th Parachute Maintenance).  They are shown in the picture above, along with the rest of the group (check out the great-looking Scions hat there on the handsome fellow on the left!).
Usually attendance during the summers is down somewhat, since there are only so many nice days here in Minnesota and people take advantage of them when they can!  Trips “up north” to the cabin are very popular in the summertime.  In the fall the numbers pick up again, and I can’t wait.  I soak up whatever these guys talk about, and I consider myself lucky to be able to hang out with them and learn about their experiences. 
It’s a great thing to live so close to a “nexus” of 17th Airborne activity!  I doubt many places have similar groups, which is unfortunate.  If there is a group of vets that you know live nearby you, I strongly encourage you to get them together on a regular basis, if you can!  It’s a truly rewarding experience.
Walk of Honor
by Isaac Epps
There is an opportunity to place a 17th Airborne Memorial at the new Walk of Honor at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning. This is the project that was under construction when, at the final Association reunions, the discussion was to move the Memorial at Sacrifice Field on base to that new site. Studies have shown that of the spaces available, none could accommodate the Memorial and the bricks. The approximate cost is at least $7,000, depending on what design and size of a new memorial we would want to place.

Look in next month's newsletter for complete details, numbers, and what it would require to take advantage of this opportunity.  

Scions Memorial Fund
by Scion Secretary / Treasurer Ed Siergiej Jr.

The "Scions of the 17th Airborne Memorial Fund"  has been set up as a seperate account with the specific purpose of supporting activities that honor the memory of our veterans who have passed on. Some examples of how these funds will be used are as follows:

Providing wreaths for our annual ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Providing wreaths for the four Medal of Honor recipients on Memorial Day.

Funding for the cards sent to the families of veterans who have passed on

Contributions in memory of a 17th Veteran, or any group of 17th Veterans
(Such as : Co F, 513th)  may be made to this fund by so designating.

Contributions can be made to:

Scions of the 17th Airborne Memorial Fund
62A Forty Acre Mt. Rd.
Danbury, CT 06811
Welcome New Scion Members

The Scions of the 17th Airborne are proud to welcome the following new members, who have joined our organization this month. As our membership grows, we can take on additional projects to honor our veterans and educate about the history of the 17th Airborne.
Betty L. Neves, Houston, TX
Widow of Ralph C. Neves (139th)

Shelly Spivey, Taylors, SC
Grand Daughter of Robert M. Lancaster (513th PIR)

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

Chaplains Corner
by Isaac Epps

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

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

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

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

Thank you in advance for stepping up here.

English Translation of "Die Luftlanding' Book Completed

The translation of “Die Luftlandung” is completed and currently at the printers. The first edition will be sent to Jos Bex for approval next week.

A call-out to all people who have enrolled for the book at the reunion in Lancaster: everyone will receive a personal email or a letter in which the book can be ordered.

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

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

The price will be $89.00.  From every book sold Jos Bex will donate $5.00 to the Scions.
Jos Bex
Lemoen 9
6852 DS Huissen
The Netherlands
Telephone: 0011-312-6325-4361
Cell:            0011-3165-163-4487

Editors Note: We thank Jos for his generosity in contributing a portion of the book price to the Scions. Jos has spent many months working on this project and we look forward to seeing the finished product. The translation of this book from the original German into English was very challenging. The Scions are working with Jos to aid in the distribution of books sold to persons in the US. More details will be forthcoming in future editions of "Thunder From Heaven"
Scion Gathering Schedule
Seems like a good idea to post information on our annual gatherings in this newsletter each month, so we can save the time in our schedules.

September 25th - 27th

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


Arlington Virginia - Annual Gathering for ceremonies at the memorial to the 17th at Arlington National Cemetery, and also at the National World War II Memorial. The Arlington event is scheduled by the Rubin Tucker Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. It is held close to Veterans Day each November. Following this ceremony we convoy to the National WWII Memorial to place a wreath there as well. The Scions also hold our annual meeting on the following day, with time to do some site seeing in DC as well. As soon as the exact date is set for this event we will list it here.

March 23rd - 27th

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


Nancy Lauria has hosted an "Operation Varsity" gathering in St. Clairsville, OH each year. Last year the dates were in late April. When we get confirmation on this years schedlue, we will post it here.

Mini Reunion Planned for September at the Jersey Shore

by Michele Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Send your check to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17th Airborne Division, Volume 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The website is located at:

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

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

Rose Friday, daughter of Edward Friday (194th)

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

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

Executive Committee:

Cindy Heigl - daughter of Tony Heigl (193rd)
Melanie Sembrat - daughter of Harry Sembrat (513th)
Robert Smith - brother of Levert L. Smith (194th)
Isaac Epps - son of Ralph Epps (194th)
From Ed Hludzenski
Is there anyone out there still alive that remembers when and how Chet Hludzenski (aka Cpl Murphy) 155 AA, battery D was wounded.
I don't use Facebook so I am trying to get info this way.
Editor's reply:
Hi Ed,
 I will post your question, in the July issue of "Thunder From Heaven". Hope you will find someone who can help. Anyone who can help, may contact Ed at:

Ed Siergiej
From Veteran John Schumacher:

Herein is the  report of the Memorial Service for Bernard Wolf.

 Bidding a fond farewell with a Celebration of Life in Love, Dignity and Honor to our 17th A/B Brother Bernard M. Wolf.

Phone calls, emails, and everything is changed again by the loss of another one of ours. The shock didn’t really sink in until I returned home Thursday evening from an emotional attempt by so many friends, trying so hard to help make Bernard's loss easier to bear for Shirley and Family.

I feel truly Honored to have represented the 17th at the Memorial Service and Military rites.  I arrived at the Church Thursday morning a virtual stranger to everyone except Shirley.  At the front door of United Methodist Church stood 8 or 10 younger persons and I introduced myself as representing the 17th A/B  and shook the outstretched hand of the first young man who introduced himself as Bernard's  grandson and each of the others in turn introduced themselves and their relationship to Bernard.  When Shirley arrived I met her at the door and when I saw the look on her face I realized why I was there.  After  the customary hug she immediately started to make sure that I would be seated at a place of Honor along with the Honorary Pallbearers.  When I made it know that I would like to attend the Military Honors at the burial in Mo. there was an immediate flurry of discussion and I was assigned to ride with Shirleys  Daughter Debby and her husband Steve.  The Memorial service was indeed a Celebration of Life for Bernard, recognizing both the solemn occasion and the happier memories offered by various contributors. 

The Military Rites at the Cemetery were impresssive, and to me emotional, with a full contingent of Legionaires and VFW from the area,  and two young Arlington Class Flag presenters that sent shivers down my neck with their precise movements as they presented the Flag to Shirley.  The firing squad presented their salute and the Bugler sounded Taps to end the Honors. On the return trip to Harlan Shirley joined us and we had some quality time to share.  Life goes on.
John J. Schumacher.   “D'” Co. 19th GIR 17th A/B


by Isaac Epps

   The ones who went
   Were truly sent
   To do a Noble Deed;
   When evil showed
   They took the load
   In Justice, they believed.
   They heard the call
   And gave their All
   And some did not not come back.
   They knew the the chance

   But took the stance
   When Liberty was attacked.
   It Speaks of Duty, Faith; and Love;
   It speaks of a respect
   for Country; For Others,
   For the Right of Man;
   To forget would be neglect.
   On this Their Day

   We stop to pray
   Their Memory shall live;
   The sacrifice they made was Life.
   What more can someone Give?
Mick Stinchcomb
680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

Mick as he was known was born in Van Bibber, Harford Co., Maryland to Samuel Phillip Stinchcomb and Martha Mae Kroh Stinchcomb who immediately died after childbirth. Mick, at Martha's request, was taken to be raised by Edna Estelle Kroh Gabler and her husband George Grover Gabler. Mick said he was treated exactly like his cousins in every way, who were Helen, Walter (Bud), Thelma (Sing) and Edith (Pete) Gabler with, lots of love. He was visited on a regular basis by his father, Samuel, and his older sister, Ruth Sterbak Stinchcomb and brothers, Philip (Phil), Norman (Bud) and Edward (Ed) Stinchcomb.

After high school, which was Aberdeen, he worked at The Glenn L. Martin Co. building B-26 airplanes. In 1943 he entered the U.S. Army Airborne into the 17th Airborne Division where he qualified as a Paratrooper and a Glider Trooper. During training in North Carolina he became a Machine Gunner and also attended Chemical Warfare School, Special Knife Fighting School, Demolition School, Inspector General School and German Weapons School in England.

After extensive training he shipped over-seas to England and from there was flown into France and trucked up to the front to fight in the Battle of the Bulge for approximately 45 days and then an airborne landing into Germany east of Wesel via glider. He was awarded three bronze battle stars, one bronze arrowhead for airborne assault and was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the airborne assault.

After the army, Mick worked as an apprentice in electrical construction and founded his own business in 1961 which was very successful. He retired in 1991. He was active in church, serving as Treasurer for four years and chairman of the trustees for many years, and was on the board of directors for many years. Mick was also a member of the American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and Past President of the 17th Airborne Division Association. He was active in 17th Airborne Division Mini Reunions and Battle of the Bulge Reunions until his death.

Mick spent a great deal of time with the family boating, fishing, camping and traveling throughout the United States. He met his beautiful wife, Lois Lee Crews Stinchcomb, in 1948 and made her his wife in 1950. They raised three beautiful children, Charles Robert Stinchcomb Jr. (Chuck) who passed way in 1980 withdrawing from prescription drugs, Marcella Louise Stinchcomb Schuerholz (Marcy) and Patricia Ann Ader Stinchcomb (Patti).

His wife Lois was very active in helping him start the business in 1961 even going as far as making deliveries with the pickup truck and tending the office while minding toddler Patti. Mick was preceded in death by his loving wife on April 20, 2010, having been together for sixty two years in a dream come true of the happiest marriages. They did everything together, never disagreed and loved each other's company at all times. He is survived by Marcy and her husband Donald Lee Schuerholz and Pattie. They were always very attentive to him, especially after the death of his wife Lois. Mick is survived by three granddaughters; Jennifer Schuerholz (Jenny), Jaclyn Schuerholz (Jaci) and Meghan Ader (Meg) and two grandsons, Ryan Ader and wife Megan and Joshua (Josh) Ader. His grandson, Shawn Ader predeceased him. Mick also had three great grandsons, Michael (Mikey) Hoos and Draven (Oody) Ader and Tristan (Bobblehead) Ader, and one great granddaughter, Deanna Rose (Rosey) Ader, daughter of Shawn.

Donations may be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church, 20440 Downes Road, Parkton, MD 21120-9165 or Youth for Christ/USA, P.O. Box 4478, Englewood, CO 80155.
William Cimino
(193 A)
CIMINO William, age 95, of Garfield, formerly of Fair Lawn and Deerfield Beach, FL died on Monday, November 17, 2008. Prior to retiring, he along with his brothers owned and operated Cimino Importing Company. Willie was an enthusiastic bowler, boatsman, hunter and golfer, who achieved a hole in one but his greatest joy came from spending time with his family, especially his great grandchildren.Beloved wife of fifty-five years of the late Anna (Wlodychak) Cimino. Loving and devoted father of Joanne Ruemler of Garfield and Olivia Weidener of Fair Lawn. Cherished grandfather of Robert and Noreen Weidener of Wyckoff and Stefani and Pete Turso of Wayne. Adored great grandfather of Marissa and Fox William. Dear brother of the late Joseph, Peter, James, Rose and Catherine.A funeral service is planned for Thursday, November 20, 2008, 10:30 AM at Vander Plaat Colonial Home, Inc., 13-31 Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn, NJ, 201-797-3500. Interment will follow at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus. The family will receive relatives and friends Wednesday 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Willie may be made to Hospice of NJ, 400 Broadacres Drive, Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003. For additional information please visit
Published in The Record/Herald News on November 18, 2008

Floyd "Sam" Brunner
194th Glider Infantry Regiment

BRUNNER, Floyd "Sam," 88, of Jacobsburg, Ohio, died Thursday, July 18, 2013, at his home.

He was born near Clarington, Ohio, on July 22, 1924, a son of the late Ernest and Anna Bigler Brunner.
Sam was a retired miner from North American Coal's 1 mine. He served during World War II as a Rifleman with the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment, Company B, 17th Airborne Division in the famous "Battle of the Bulge" near Bastogne. His decorations and citations included the Belgian Fourragere, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, EAMEC Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead, Netherlands Orange Lanyard, Carbine Cal 30 Expert and an Honorable Discharge.

He was a member of the American Legion and VFW both at Powhatan Point and was a founding member of the True Sportsman's Club of Jacobsburg.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Mabel "Cookie" Baker Brunner; a son-in-law, Harry Scott; brothers Leroy, Charles, William and Emerson and sisters Fern Phillips, Betty Brooks and Viola Sims.

He is survived by his children Butch (Karen) Brunner, John Brunner, Gary (Beth) Brunner, Kathy (John) West, Melody (Jimmie) Ramsay and Chris (Renee) Brunner all of Jacobsburg, Randy(Mary) Brunner of Bannock, Teresa (Jim) Trigg of Armstrongs Mills and Crystal Scott of Powhatan Point; brothers, Ernest Brunner of Shadyside and Franklin Brunner of Jacobsburg; and a sister, Ella Mae Ramsay of St. Clairsville; 25 grandchildren and 40 great- grand children.

 Friends will be received at the Toothman Funeral Home, Jacobsburg, Ohio on Saturday from 4-9 p.m. and Sunday from 1-8 p.m. with American Legion services at 6 p.m. Funeral services will be Monday at 11 a.m. with Rusty Atkinson officiating. Burial will follow in the Brunner Family Cemetery, Jacobsburg.

Memorial contributions may be made to Valley Hospice, 10686 State Route 150, Rayland, Ohio 43943.

Curt Gadd
513th Parachute Infantry Regiment Co. D

Life Member Curtis Gadd (513D) was one of the original organizers of the 17th Airborne Division Association, serving as President in 1958-1959. Curt served the Association as Recording Secretary from 1960 until the dissolution of the association in 2007.
GADD, Curtis A., 91, of Sun City Center, FL, formerly of Cleveland and Zanesville, OH, died Wednesday, July 24, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Pauline, children, Thomas (Susan Murkey), Susan (Jim Krysiak), James, and Cynthia (Dan Gang) and 5 grandchildren; Greg Gadd, Cynthia Konold, Douglas Keith, Adrienne Gang, Danielle Lombardo, and several great-grand-children.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, July 29 at 4pm at the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce meeting room, 1651 Sun City Center Blvd. In 2010, a group of European WWII re-enactors invited Curt and Pauline to Belgium for the 65th anniversary of Operation Varsity and Dead Man's Ridge Walk. It was an all expenses paid trip, funded out of the pockets of the re-enactors.

Dad's trip was so moving and dear to him that he wanted other vets to experience the same trip. In lieu of flowers, Curt requests that donations be made to DMRWalk c/o the address listed below. Curt will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a date TBA. Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to Pauline c/o 2202 Longmore Circle, Valrico FL 33596 Airborne All the Way!
The Last Jump
by Real Desmarets and Jos Bex

We first met Curt and Pauline Gadd during the 17th AB Association final reunion in Hampton VA, 2007.

Right from the start Curt was genuinely interested in “the guys from Europe” as he called us, telling us stories from Operation Varsity, explaining all about the training period and later the life as a paratrooper in combat. He laughed heartily when telling one of his garrison stories or the many “bar-events” that took place outside base-camp. He more than once explained us that “he could have been a Lieutenant by now” if it wasn’t for the many times he “got acquainted” with the MP.  A man after our own hearts...

After a wonderful time at the final reunion we promised to stay in contact, and we did…

We both remember the many times Curt corresponded by email.  We sent each other funny movies and interesting stories, often war related. We frequently Skyped so we could see each other “live” via the computer. So far away and yet so close…

In 2010 Curt returned to his battlefield areas both in Belgium and Germany, invited by his Belgian friends. We remember well, when standing on his former drop zone in Hamminkeln, he noticed how peaceful the area was now. Indeed Curt, thanks to you it is...

Our prolonged contact resulted in another meeting in 2011 to be present at Curt’s 90th birthday. Hosted by daughter Cyndi and her husband Dan we had the most wonderful time spent with Curt and the family. When saying goodbye we knew we had probably met him for the last time. Luckily we still had a lot of contact as described above. The last contribution Curt assisted in was writing down part of his wartime memories to be printed in a book about Operation Varsity.

Then came the sad news, Curt is no more; he made his final jump...

We have to get used now to missing him...

We know the Lord gave him a special place, and he deserved it.

Thank you for liberating us. Thank you for being with us.
Until we meet again, Curt!!!!

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