Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 6:44 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: MAIL CALL NO. 700 517TH PRCT.-- MAY 27, 2004

Politics is now in high gear but I would like to keep it out of "Mail Call". We have more important matters to be concerned with, such as events and things that affect our members and the friends of the 517 and the Airborne.. You  can send me your political views, but  I would like to keep them out of  "Mail Call".
I'd rather have a poem.
Mail Call           
Mail Call Archives

Larry Larson
This story was on my local news last night and even though this particular soldier wasn't a member of the 517th (he was part of the 501st) I still thought that is was a great story to share with everyone.
Leahann Larson
D-Day hero will get to make one last jump with the help of an old Army buddy 

His dying wish was to make one last jump

05:39 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Lieutenant Jess Tidwell, United States Army paratrooper during World War II, who parachuted into Normandy, France during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. With the help of an old Army buddy, Tidwell's daughter his making sure Tidwell's dying wish of making one more jump comes true.

COEUR D'ALENE - Nearly 60 years ago, thousands of men stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. One of those heroes was United States Army paratrooper Lieutenant Jess Tidwell. His dying wish was to make one more jump. In a few weeks, his wish will come true.

On the eve of D-Day, lieutenant Tidwell parachuted onto the beaches of Normandy, carrying 200 pounds of explosives. The young paratrooper became part of history, but to Dee Dee Strimas, Tidwell was just "dad." "He was a generous man," Strimas said.

While enjoying a day with his family on Lake Coeur d'Alene, Tidwell told his daughter he wanted to parachute again, however Tidell suffered from Parkinson's disease and it wouldn't allow him to complete his dream. "I just want him to have that last jump," Strimas said. "It meant so much to him."

A year ago, Tidwell died. However, Strimas didn't want her father's dream to end there. While reading a military newsletter, she discovered that one of her dad's fellow paratroopers was going to parachute onto the beaches of Normandy to honor the 60th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th.

She wrote her father's old friend Ralph Manley. "Would you consider taking a small amount of daddy's ashes to Normandy, so he can make that final jump he always wanted? she asked Manley.

Manley immediately agreed to carry a small pouch of Tidwell's ashes when he parachutes onto the beach in France.  "Some of daddy's ashes will be next to Ralph's heart when he jumps," she explained.

"To be there and do it with some of his brothers, it was the least I could do," Manley said.

A gesture that Dee Dee is sure would please her father and gives her peace of mind that her dad will get to make his one last jump. "His ashes won't be spread, " she said. "They will come home, like he always did."

Lory Curtis

Dear Mr. Smith

            Thank you so much for that story about Colonel Boyle.  My Dad and I have been having some great talks about his experiences in the 517th.  Yours will be added to our memoirs.  Before the war my Dad and Bob Steele attended the same high school in Long Beach California but did not know each other until they got into the 517th.  I still remember as a little boy my Dad and Mom taking me to Bob Steele house in the 1950’s maybe early 60’s as they visited together.  I didn’t think to look at the roster until my Dad told me to, but Ben gave me Major Fraser’s grandson’s email so I sent him a note about the glove incident in Belgium with my Dad.  Anyway I received a great email from Major Fraser through his grandson Jay.  Here is what he said today.  This is great to hear these stories.  It is great to see the caliber and leadership that was instilled into the officers of the 517th.  These truly were great leaders.


Lory Curtis, son of Bud Curtis, HQ, 1st BN.

Here is the story I received for my Dad from Major Fraser.

Dear Mr. Lory,

This is Jay, the 20 yr old grandson of Major Donald W. Fraser.  I showed him the story that your father remembered, and my grandfather immediately picked up on it.  He told me to tell you that the jeep was from Rome, Italy, and he stole it from the British for Col. Boyle.  He said that it had no top or windshield.  He also added, "Keogh was my driver, he could see in the dark like a cat."  He also remembered the glove incident as well. 

He wanted me to tell you that he did get another pair of gloves from Bill Price, the S-4, and that the wet gloves were placed on the radiator to dry off.  He was very happy to hear that someone else remembered that jeep and gloves, etc.  He also asked that if there was anything else that you can remember to tell him and he would do the same. 

He also added that the air units never got many vehicles, so whenever they would need something they would steal it, lolhe said that they just had to paint over the numbers on the bumper and paint 517 instead.  On this jeep they had to paint over the British emblem on the hood as well. 

Thank you very much for your email, my grandfather's eyes lit up when he red the letter, it was good to see that he has his memory so intact. 

Jay Littlefield

Thank you Jay and Major Fraser.  You made my day!  Lory Curtis

Bill Boyle
This is to Lory Curtis. I, Bill Boyle remember, but would change a few details. It
was troops from a regiment of the 75th div---Not the 106th. The Germans had not
 taken back Soy and Hotton, but 2 Bns of this regt. were unable to take the hill,
Laremoulier. Col. Howze of 3rd Armored Div ordered me to take the hill. At the time
C Co. was off on another mission, B co. was on a line from just south of Hotton to
just south of Quatre Bras. I gave A Co the job of going down a streambed and
 attacking the hill from the flank. One platoon of C Co. which was not on that C Co.
mission was in reserve. A Co. swept the hill although having been fired on by one
Bn. of the 75th Div. troops. Just before dark I was ordered to take command
of all our troops in the area and organize for defense. I gave A Co. an area to
defend and then placed elements of about seven companies in position.
As daylight came I heard an observer incorrectly directing fire and tried to
correct it. It came in directly on part of A Co, It turned out to be from the cannon
 Co. of that Inf. regt. Yes I raised Hell about that as well as with the only Bn. C.O.
of that unit that I could locate .                Our versions vary somewhat but after
all it is almost 60 years ago and we saw it from different view points
                                                                   Bill Boyle
                   P.S. In the next mail call Don Frazer's address appears.
If you contact me I will have it. I could not write directly because I had no
Nila Gott
Hi Ben,
I always thought this was a wonderful poem (actually it was written for a song) and both the North and South adapted it.

 The Drummer Boy of Shiloh

On Shiloh's dark and bloody ground, the dead and wounded lay.

Amongst them was a drummer boy, that beat the drum that day.

A wounded soldier raised him up, his drum was by his side.

He clasped his hands and raised his eyes and prayed before he died:

Look down upon the battlefield, Oh Thou, our Heav'nly friend,

Have mercy on our sinful souls.  The soldiers cried, "Amen."

For gather'd round a little group, Each brave man knelt and cried.

They listen'd to the drummer boy who prayed before he died.


"Oh, Mother!" said the dying boy, "Look down from Heav'n on me,

Receive me to thy fond embrace, Oh take me home to thee.

"I've loved my country as my God, To serve them both I've tried."

He smiled, shook hands.  Death seized the boy who prayed before he died.

Each soldier wept then like a child, Stout hearts were they and brave.

The flag his winding sheet, God's book the key unto his grave.

They wrote upon a simple board these words "This is a guide

to those who mourn the drummer boy who prayed before he died."


Nila Gott
See my website!
Order my new book, "Not Ready To Die"