517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team

517th Soldier's Stories

(See also "Friendlies" Page for More Web Sites)

(See also "Meet the Troopers" for personal histories)

Soldier   Unit Biography Other Stories in the News
Alvin Adelman   F Co.   "Councilman was Army Pathfinder in WWII", obituary listing from the Toldeo (Ohio) Blade
Lt. John A. "Boom Boom" Alicki HQ Co.; 3rd Battalion Demo Platoon Biography of Boom Boom Alicki John A. "Boom Boom" Alicki

on the WWII Memorial Registry


Jack E. Anderson

.   Profile of Jack E. Anderson

-- from the Legion of Valor Museum (Fresno, CA) web site

Sgt. Wilford C. Anderson

  C Co.   Sgt. Wilford C. Anderson, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross -- from the Legion of Valor web site
Ralph Antrim R Hq.   Ralph Antrim
Ben Barrett H Co.

Autobiography of Ben Barrett


Just wanted to stick my Dad's picture in here somewhere -- BB
Dave Barry   Service Co.

Biography of Dave Barry


Lou Berrena   HQ/1   Battle of the Bulge veterans remember epic WWII battle

from Centre Daily Times, State College, PA

Sgt. Ralph G. Bickford   A Co.   Memorial site for Sgt. Ralph G. Bickford on the Band of Brother (Netherlands) website.
PFC Melvin E. Biddle B Co.  
MSNBC - The Daily Nightly, with Brian Williams, honors Melvin E. Biddle - June 4, 2007
Hero of the Heartland
from FreeConservatives.com
Heroes from WTHR-TV, Indianapolis web site
Medal of Honor Roll Call.  Hear audio and see video of the story from Private First Class Melvin Biddle.
Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial Dedication -- The Honorees; May 28, 1999
Medal of Honor for Melvin E. Biddle - pictures from the Heritage Hall of Heroes. Look for the picture with Harry S. Truman. (broken link?)
Medal of Honor for Melvin E. Biddle - text of MOH citation
Melvin "Bud" Biddle from HomeofHeroes.com
PFC Melvin E Biddle, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross -- from the Legion of Valor web site
Excerpt from Army Training course on "Army Values - Selfless Service", using Melvin Biddle's story as an example
E.W. "Bill" Bolin C Co.   The Liberation of Bergeval by Bill Bolin, Co C, 517th PRCT

From: The Battle of the Bulge in the Salm River valley
From Eddy Lamberty, Belgium

From Dropzone.org: A Night Near Bergeval
by E.W. "Bill" Bolin

Col. William J. Boyle

  HQ/1   Col. William J. Boyle, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross -- from the Legion of Valor web site

Gene Brissey

E Co. Autobiography of Eugene L. Brissey Albuquerque, New Mexico resident - WWII Regimental Combat - Gene Brissey - to Speak at Ramada Express (October 26, 2000)

[Well, it turns out the the "Who Lost a Dog Tag?" story previously included here was is just a bit too shortened and embellished by the author. Fortunately, we have received the whole story, just as interesting, from Gene Brissey himself. -- B.B.]
Gene's True Account of the Missing Dog Tags

Capt. Joe Broudy

  A Co.   Please go to webshots.com and view the album 517th pir to see pictures of my dad Joe Broudy, A company. 

- Bruce Broudy

Joe David Brown 460th PFAB   Lt. Joe David Brown, HQ Co. 460 PFAB

Joe David Brown was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1915. In his twenties he worked as a reporter at newspapers across the country. When World War II came, he left his job at the New York Daily News and signed up with the paratroopers, where he became a forward observer with the 460th PFAB, and was eventually awarded a battlefield commission, the Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre with palm. In 1950 he resumed his career by joining Time-Life, where he became a foreign correspondent. His many books include "Paper Moon", "Kings Go Forth", and "Stars in My Crown", all made into major motion pictures. He died in 1976.

"Kings Go Forth", originally called "Combat Mission", is the story of an American GI (Lieutenant) stationed in Nice during 1944, shortly after the invasion of Southern France.  Hmm.

See the movie info
And check out the movie trailer:
  fast connection  slow connection

Pfc. Michael Bulino   596th PCEC   Story about Pfc. Michael Bulino of the 596th

From the Schuylkill Republic Herald web site

Antonio Campos

  460th PFAB   "U.S. Latinos and Latinas in Word War II: Fighting the good fights"

From the U.S. Latinos and Latinas & WWII Oral History Project by the University of Texas

Pvt.William Capp HQ/1   A Tribute to William McNeil Capp

by Carol Wellington

Cpl. Albert J. Caraciolo C Co.   Albert J. Caraciolo page  from the Chester (PA) County Hall of Heroes

see the monument in Logbierme, Belgium

Sgt. Romeo John Castonguay I Co.   Sgt. Romeo John Castonguay bio
from the Ranger Hall of Fame

Master Sergeant Romeo John Castonguay
from the Fort Benning site:  Ranger Hall of Fame

PFC Henry A. Ciner R HQ Co.   From MacLean Lunko, Johnstown, PA: "My Great Uncle was in the Military Police 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team during WWII. He was killed in combat during Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France. He died 35 years before I was born, and somehow, I look identical to him. Be sure to visit the Pfc. Henry Ciner Memorial Page."
Sgt. Randolph Coleman F Co. Biography of Randolph Coleman  
Mervin J. Connors   HQ/1   Merv Connors was a star of the baseball minor leagues. From 1934 to 1953, he played eighteen seasons and over 2100 games in the minor leagues.

From baseball-reference.com

Houston Couch       Dr. Houston Couch Receives the 2003 USGA Green Section Award
Tom Cross HQ/2 F Co.  

Designer of the Parachute Rigger badge from the Quartermaster Foundation Web site

Tom Cross awarded Lifetime Member of the Red Hat Chapter (Parachute Riggers)

Biography posted on the US Army Quartermaster Center web site.

Frank Dallas   I Co.   Retired Airborne Soldier gets Silver Star
From the ArmyLINK News site
Jesse Darden 460 - HQ Co Autobiography of Jess Darden  
PFC Fred Davalos     Parachutist Kept Fighting After Losing Eye in Battle

PDF version

from "The Golden Age for Mexican Americans", a latino archive from the University of Texas

Pvt. Jessie K. Davis B. Co.   Former paratrooper visits French villagers who rescued him during war; Sunday, June 18, 2000; Las Vegas Review-Journal
Leo P. Dean RHq   WWII Paratrooper makes 109th Jump during the 2008 West Coast Reunion of the 517PRCT

Radio interview after Leo's 100th jump

Some news clippings about Leo Dean "falling through the clouds again".

SUNY Oswego Students Aid National History Project:  Leo Dean interviewed

Cpl. Albert P. Deshayes G Co.   Cpl. Albert P. Deshayes, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross -- from the Legion of Valor web site
Sergeant Major
George W. Dunaway
    Official biography from the Department of the Army.
George Dunaway was a Platoon Sergeant with the 517th in January 1945.

Bio of George W. Dunaway,  President of Chapter 51 of the Special Forces Association, Las Vegas NV.

"Former highest ranking soldier reflects on career" from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 15, 2002

SMA Dunaway Dies, 2nd Sergeant Major of the Arm

Cpl. Richard J. Eaton A Co.   Brigadier General Richard J. Eaton bio
from the Ranger Hall of Fame
Witness to the War videos - several stories of the 517th's actions
Malcolm Evans A Co.   Malcolm "Red" Evans biography from the University at Albany SUNY Veteran's Project

Also see his notes from the war-front in the alumni collection: Letter of March 14, 1945

David E. Grange, Jr. HQ/2   PFC with the 517th, went on to become Commanding General, Sixth U.S. Army

Biography from Wikipedia

John Grant 460th PFAB   Fate takes daughter on father's WWII European journey

Richmond County Daily Journal, May 1, 2004

Hal Jeffcoat F Co.   Baseball in Wartime, October 2007: Hal Jeffcoat

Hal Jeffcoat played 12 seasons in the major leagues, split roughly 50/50 between playing outfield and being a pitcher.

From baseball-reference.com

See Randolph Coleman's story of Hal's carnival event

Lee Johnson       Lee Johnson of New Smyrna Beach GA

Memorial Day 2004 at the dedication of the National WWII Memorial

Pvt. Edward J. Henry, Jr.

F Co.   Pvt. Edward J. Henry, Jr. page from the Camden County War dead memorial site

Lt. Howard E. Hensleigh


  HQ Co - 3rd Bn Autobiography of Howard E. Hensleigh  

Joe Holten


  F Co.   "Driller Hopes Letter Helps Him Find Friends"
from the San Angelo (TX) Times, January 8, 1996
Lou Holzworth R HQ Demo   "One Heartbeat Away From Death"

Lou Holzworth (RHq Demo) recounts his Korean War experiences for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

Mo Kunkel HQ/1   An interview with Mo Kunkel

From the Northwest Arkansas Morning News, Memorial Day 2001

William John "Bill" Lewis

  F Co. Biography of Bill Lewis Here is a copy of the obituary write-up for Bill Lewis, who recently passed away.

Gordon Joseph Lippman

HQ/1   Biography From South Dakotans who Gave Their Life in Service During the Vietnam War
2nd Lt. Eugene C. Markle 596th PEC   Tribute web site for Gene Markle, set up by Gene's son, Steve Markle.

One Soldier's Travels

In Memory of Eugene C. Markle


Merle McMorrow   460 - C Battery Autobiography of Merle McMorrow  
Phil McSpadden 460th PFAB   Article about Phil McSpadden, 460th PFAB

Daily Sun Newspaper of the Villages - The Villages, FL, November 2003

Sgt. John G. "Buck" Miller C Co.  

See also Buck Miller photos: 1 2 3

2nd Lt. John H. Miller   I Co.   A Tribute to Col. John H. Miller
(from the Congressional Record, US Senate - May 13, 1992)

Ed “Big Ed” Moehrke

  E Co.   Small quote from "Veterans view new army" in the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer-Times, May 23, 1998

Also, some recollections from "As You Were", a compilation of accounts by members of the Badger State Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association of their activities during World War II. These documents were recently scanned in from letters on the the history of the 82nd Airborne:

Marvin D. Moles D Co. Biography of Marvin D. Moles ...and the Helmet story.
Robert L. Morris E Co.   Bill Morris has set up a web page dedicated to his father, Bob Morris, who fought with the 517th PRCT, E Company from Camp Toccoa to Italy to Southern France to Germany.  The site includes some pictures and stories.
James E. Mortensen 460 PFAB Autobiography of James E Mortensen James E. Mortensen bio page

from Jim's web site, http://www.n2hos.com/

Clay Nichols

  G Co.   Clay Nichols - Honored for his Service

from Alleghany News, Sparta, NC Sept. 4 2003

Greg Oehm

      "He knew he was in trouble when his chute didn't open"
Greg Oehm joined the 517th in January 1945

from the Florida Sun-Herald March 04, 2003

Oscar the Dummy

      From the US Army Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, GA, the story of Oscar the Dummy, who participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France.

John M. Pastalenic

  H Co. Autobiography of John M. Pastalenic  

PFC Nolan Powell

  C Co.   PFC Nolan Powell, recipient of Distinguished Service Cross -- from the Legion of Valor web site

Harlan Roberts

  C Co.   Some memories of Harlan Roberts are included in "World War II Veterans"
From Veterans of Marshall County, written by the students of Mr. Gary Rider, John Marshall High School, Glen Dale, West Virginia

Virgilio G. Roel

      Biography of Virgilio Roel, from "The Golden Age for Mexican Americans", a latino archive from the University of Texas

Howard W. Ruppel

  F Co. Part 1, Part 2 (pdf format) Howard W. Ruppel's stories of WWII, written in 1989, from the McMillan Memorial Library, 490 East Grand Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. 54494

The records are part of "As You Were", a compilation of accounts by members of the Badger State Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association of their activities during World War II. These documents were recently scanned in from letters on the the history of the 82nd Airborne.

Part 1: http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/mcm/history/82nd/82_11a.pdf (local copy)

Part 2: http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/mcm/history/82nd/82_11b.pdf (local copy)

Terry Sanford

Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy is named after the 517th's own Terry Sanford (d.1998).
Here is his biography summary, noting the 517th.
Here is a longer biography from the Duke Chronicle
Here is the Terry Sanford Memorial Page
Terry Sanford biography on Wikipedia
"Expected silent night ended with a bang", story from Fayettville NC Observer-Times
Book Review: Terry Sanford: Politics, Progress, and Outrageous Ambition; Fall 1999; includes a picture of Terry jumping at the 517th's 20th reunion in 1964

Terry Sanford's 1976 US Presidential campaign brochure

UNC-TV Biographical Conversations with Terry Sanford

Richard Seitz

HQ/2 Seitz biography on Wikipedia

Fayetteville Observer, December 29, 2008: 

A man of vision both past and now

From the Junction City, KS Daily Union:
The Association of the U.S. Army selected retired Lt. Gen. Richard Seitz of Junction City to receive its Creighton W. Abrams Medal.

"Army's biggest booster rehabilitated its reputation" from the Fayetteville (NC) Observer, Oct 2, 2003

At Fort Bragg from the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer-Times, June 18, 1998

9th Cavalry & 10th Cavalry Regiments Honorary Committee Member from the 9th-10th Calvary Regiment web site

From dropzone.org: The Strategic Capture of Hunnage (Task Force Seitz)

PFC Edward Snyder


  H Co.   From the newsletter "WWII Musings", April 1995, here is text of the story of PFC Edward Snyder's experience as a POW after being captured Dec. 27, 1944.

Taken from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Full copy of the WWII Musings newletter here.

Dick Spencer III HQ/3 biography of Dick Spencer Dick Spencer is the creator of the Battling Buzzards logo

From the University of Iowa website "A Bird in the Hand"

War News Article

Peter A. Sturgeon   3rd Battalion Demo Platoon   Peter A. Sturgeon was the founder of the American branch of Mensa and the older brother of noted American science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon.

Wikipedia entry fo Peter Sturgeon

Cpl. James Guy Turner     From:  The Fighting Men of Texas, Navarro County:

Cpl. James Guy Turner, son of Mr. and Mrs. V. W. Turner, Corsicana, born Apr. 20, 1925.  Volunteered May 19, 1944.  Assigned to Army, Airborne, team, 517th Combat (Parachute Inf. known as "Battling Buzzards") which fought with great valor during Ardennes Campaign.  Served overseas Jan., 1945 to Aug., 1945, in E.A.M.E. Theater.  Received ATO; E.A.M.E. with 3 Bronze Stars (France, Belgium and Germany); Airborne Combat Inf. Badge; Expert Rifleman's Badge; Presidential Citation; Purple Heart; Croix de Guierre.  Was discharged Nov., 1945.

Nacho Vasquez   HQ/3 Not Ready To Die - Autobiography of Nacho Vasquez Nila Gott has edited this autobiography of Ignacio (Nacho) Ramirez Vasquez.

Not Ready To Die is the life of a man spent trying to survive in the harsh New Mexico badlands during the 1930s. World War II took him into the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, where he made the famous Dragoon jump. The book contains stories of his survival.

PFC Carl E. Votti B Co.   Carl Votti page from: the Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

LTC Louis A. Walsh, Jr. HQ Co.  

"Walsh Wassail" Prop Blast Bowl of The 517th Parachute Infantry
The bowl was named in honor of the first commanding officer of the Regiment, LTC Louis A. Walsh, Jr., West Point Class of 1934. He was the originator of the bowl and presented it to the Regiment on March 15, 1943, at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, upon its activation.

From the US Army Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, GA

Fred Richard Wampler

      Biography from the "Ultimate Family Tree" web pages
William T. Webb   HQ Co, 3rd Bn. Autobiography of William T. Webb  
Wayne R. Webb   HQ/2   Wayne R.Webb bio

from National Smokejumpers Association

Capt. Robert P. Woodhull 460th PFAB   Capt. Robert P. Woodhull, 460th PFAB

from: Allied WWII Casualties in The Netherlands Remembered, a Tribute site from Stevin Oudshoorn, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Melvin Zais     Lt. Colonel Melvin Zais was second in command to Col. Rupert Graves. He went on to become Commanding General of the Third US Army.

Also from University of New Hampshire ROTC Hall of Fame

PFC Corbin V. Zickefoose   HQ -HQ -1st Bat.   The Story of Corbin Zickefoose's Letters from France

* Note: Some of these references are from large documents with little indexing. Therefore, if you want to find a specific reference within the text, such as references to the 517th, you will need to do a "Find" to search for a text string. To do a Find: After the page is loaded, go to the top menu bar of your browser and use the "Edit" command, then "Find", and do a search for the text, e.g. "517" (without the quotes).