tow line      tow line 2325th Glider Infantry Association

82nd Airborne Division                              

Submissions

Our first submission is from Clinton Riddle who attended not only the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion but of Operation Market-Garden in Holland as well! I asked Clint to send us an update on his trip:

HOLLAND 70 YEARS LATER

Dear Rick,

Yes, I made a wonderful tour of Holland helping them in the 70th celebration of the invasion of Holland in 1944. I met a group of men at Colville, Normandy, who got the idea to have me come to Holland for their celebration. They started raising money for my trip.

My daughter, Connie, who had made the trip to Normandy and I left the airport at Knoxville on Saturday going to Atlanta landing Sunday morning September 14th at Schiphol Airport in Holland. Before leaving home my children were talking saying they didn't want an old man wondering around over there by himself (Wonder who they were talking about?) We were greeted by the welcome committee Reijer, Bert, Ine, Victor, and Alex. The first stop was Ginkelse Heide (former drop zone) then on to the Airborne Museum. We visited the PROCORNEA plant they produce contact lenses. Five of the men worked there. They went to the manager and he bought our plane ticket there and back, they furnished a car and driver to travel while I was there, all my eats, and rooms by a lady who owned the Castle Jachtslot de

Mookerheide. I wasn't out a dime for entire trip (I couldn't turn down a tour like that)!

I visited their school. The students received me with open arms at Beekbergen listening to every word I said, very impressed by my sleeping in a foxhole. I visited the wooden shoemaker in Velddriel. They had made me a pair of Airborne Clogs (With a AA on the toe). The man allowed me to operate the machine that made the shoes. I visited MARGRATEN: American Cemetery and memorial, Lt. Willis Utecht's grave and placing a wreath on the grave. There were a large number of 82nd troopers at the Cemetery and all lined up to shake hands with me and take a picture.

You know the story of Lt. Utecht---- How every Officer in company B was killed except one on the Plains of Mook. Lt. Utecht was buried and was not found until 1993. I was there when he was killed and attended his funeral in 1994 while on the 50th tour of the invasion of Holland. I visited the spot where he was buried and found. We placed a bunch of flowers on the spot - it is now in a corn field. I got me a bag of the dirt where he was found. While visiting in the cornfield where he was found it started to rain and I got wet as a dog!

Next I visited the Nijmegen bridge, while there I was interview by reporters from both newspaper and TV. At a dinner in Castle Doorwerth we met former Secretary of State of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, Mr. Jack de Vries. I visited where I crash landed in 1944 near Graves, attended unveiling of the Gavin monument in Groesbeek, official dinner at Buunderkamp, saw 150 old army vehicles parade in Groesbeek my name was on one of the tanks. I visited Wijnhoven's Glider collection Wolfheze.

We took a plane on Sunday September 21st home from Schiphol Airport Holland to Detroit, Michigan. They put our luggage on wrong plane for Knoxville and didn't receive it until later. We got home at 2:00 A. M. Monday morning. We had a wonderful trip; I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Thank you, Rick.

Clinton Riddle

Well Done Clint! - Rick  

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Our second submission is our annual update on George Fisanich’s trip to Arlington National Cemetery for Veteran’s Day:

VETERANS DAY OPERATIONS AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 2014

The three-day Veterans Day operations were again executed in the usual fashion with elements and vehicles provided by the 82nd Airborne Division and organized and managed by association personnel from all over the United States.

While the assembly was not as large as that noted four or five years ago, it was nevertheless a fine turnout that participated in honoring deceased veterans of World War II and subsequent conflicts. Credit should also be given to the local division chapters for their continued assistance in ensuring that such items as wreaths were made available and that proper arrangements were made with cemetery and other organizations. (Please refer to the Winter 2014 issue of the PARAGLIDE pages 7 through 11 for the excellent coverage of similar operations conducted in 2013. That is the issue portraying gliderman Shirley Gossett, a past association president on the cover)

Final Salute

Photo No. 1 portrays me and three other gentlemen saluting while TAPS was played following my speech and prayer honoring every member of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment during World War II. On the left stands 82nd Airborne Division Association president Harold Schroeder, Director, an unidentified veteran of WW II and Richard Becker a past president of the division association and a very good friend of all glidermen.

Marker

Photo No. 2 portrays a close up view of the 325th GIR memorial marker installed and dedicated i November 1996. I am always amazed at the number of sightseers who visit the Arlington National Cemetery: either by bus or on foot, walking alone on in small groups. As you can tell by the photo, it was a bright sunny day but a bit chilly.

The cemetery is unique in many ways and I don't believe any other country has a similar feature. Here are some interesting facts about our national cemetery. The grounds of 1,100 acres once belonged to Mary Curtis, wife of Confederate General Lee who departed the area to help defend his favorite state of Virginia. Northern forces seized the strategic grounds overlooking the Potomac River in May, 1861. The first military burial took place in May 1864 when a soldier from Pennsylvania’s 67th Regiment was interred there. Subsequently, several burials took place on those grounds. QM General Montgomery Meigs was responsible for turning the grounds into a national military resting place for our nation's heroes, but not until 1882 when George W. C. Curtis won a court case getting the property back to his family but then sold it to the U.S. government for $150,000.

Today it is the final resting place for some 400,000 individuals, including veterans from every conflict the US has been involved in our history. About 7,000 funerals are completed annually and about 3.5 million visitors arrive at this national cemetery to pay their respects to our nation's fallen heroes. It is estimated that with the ongoing rate of funerals by 2055 the cemetery will have reached it full capacity.

George Fisanich

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As always we can count on George to make the trip to Arlington on behalf of the 325. But that wasn’t all he did for Veteran’s Day – read on -

VETERANS DAY GUEST SPEAKER

In early November I received a phone call from Mr. William Chain, the supervising principal of the local senior high school asking me to be the guest speaker of the forth coming Veterans Day breakfast, a feature of increasing importance in the southern Adams County area. Apparently he had been having some difficulty in acquiring a suitable guest speaker for this august occasion and someone recommended he ask me to do the job. I accepted and asked how long a presentation was envisioned. He said no more than a half hour and, if possible, have the topic related to your military service. Also remember that most of the attendees would be anxious to get to those scrambled eggs, bacon and chipped beef gravy.

Following the request for a Declaration of War against Japan by FDR our history teacher predicted that every boy in his class would get involved in the war before they turned 19 years. We laughed at that comment and he said we will see. After graduating from high school and getting drafted I was sent to Camp Wheeler Georgia for basic training and subsequently assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, specifically the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, then local near Reims, France following its participation in the Battle of the Bulge.

Shortly thereafter the division was positioned along the west bank of the Rhine River for a couple of weeks and then assigned to the British Second Army located in northwestern Germany, near the city of Ludwigslust where a German death camp was located. Here the war ended and I reached my 19th birthday a few days later. (My old history teacher was right!!)

George Fisanich

I briefly discussed our unit’s involvement in the German capital in Berlin and the subsequent trip to the United States including spending Thanksgiving in France, Christmas in England and New Year’s Day on the high seas. After participating in the Victory March down New Your City’s Fifth Avenue, I returned to Fort Bragg and was later discharged.

Apparently the presentation was well done? Well appreciated? Or what have you. I received a standing ovation and later Mr. Chain thanked me personally.

George Fisanich

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We return to our series on Lew Strandberg’s story of his World War II service – picking back with the Normandy campaign:

WORLD WAR II

MY LIFE IN THE SERVICE

By Lew Strandburg

After the barrage lifted, we immediately pushed forward and were able to push the enemy back without giving them an opportunity to take up defensive positions. By dusk we had almost reached our objective. The last couple of miles we moved up the road in single file under the cover of darkness. An amazing little incident occurred that night. It seems a squad of Germans whom we had; apparently, pocketed earlier in the day heard us marching up the road. It was so dark that night you could hardly see your hand in front of your face, and thinking it was a squad of their own troops, fell in at the rear of the column. They didn't know they were marching with their enemy and we didn't know they were German until we reached

our objective and started digging in. Suddenly someone spotted the Germans, but being well outnumbered they surrendered without firing a shot. They were as surprised as we were.

That night it rained steadily, as it did a good bit of the time we were in Normandy, and we spent a cold, miserable night in muddy foxholes. The following morning I was sent on a four man patrol to make contact with the 1st and 2nd Battalions that had become separated in the shuffle. It took us until noon to find them and by noon we had formed a secure line across our entire front. We held this position for a couple of days until another Division relieved us and we went back to Etienville.

Upon arrival at Etienville we learned another mission had already been planned for us. It was to cross the Douve River under similar conditions as we had on "Purple Heart Bridge". Another causeway and another rush against the enemy on the other side. Before we could cross, however, the bridge had to be repaired by the Engineers as the dive bombers had completely demolished it when bombing Etienville. The bridge repair project began shortly after dark. At midnight one Battalion, the 1st of the 325th, set out to cross the river upstream a short distance in rubber boats. By 0300 that morning the Engineers had made enough repairs to the bridge to allow foot soldiers to cross, but no vehicles or artillery pieces would be able to cross until later in the day. After a two hour shelling of enemy positions, we started across in the darkness. As the bridge was merely a "cat-walk" in many places, Engineers were stationed at various places to give the overburdened Infantry a hand. I won't forget a big Irishman that gave me a hand across one of these places. As he boosted me up, he said: "Here's me hand me boy, and my heart goes with you. Go get 'em, Doughboy!"

We found the Douve easier to cross than the Merdert even though· it was wider and the bridgehead been so badly damaged. The enemy was not as close as they had been while crossing "Purple Heart". Although there was a steady barrage of 88's, there was only sporadic small arms fire. We pushed on some fifteen miles meeting very little enemy resistance, but about 1600 we ran into a snag. We had been moving along at good speed and

perhaps getting a little careless, when suddenly on the outskirts of small village they caught us on open ground

and poured it on us. We were pinned down and could hardly return fire. Our Company Commander, Capt. Charles Murphy, was wounded in the face, as was another Officer. Several G.I.'s were also hit. We called for two other Companies from our Battalion and with their help we were able to push through the village. I tried my hand as a Medic during the attack for so many of our men were injured by enemy artillery and mortar fire that our two Company Medics could not get around to all the wounded. I put a tourniquet on one poor soul who stopped a piece of shrapnel in the artery of his leg and bandaged another who had been hit in the abdomen and shoulder. I can't say I enjoyed that job very much, but I hope I was able to help save their lives. By nightfall we reached the high ground, our objective for the day, and we dug in our position. Three outposts were established in front of our lines. Having been transferred to the Weapons Platoon, I was sent out to man the outpost on the right flank with a .30 cal. light machine gun and two riflemen. That night we lost three men on one of the other outposts. They must have been taken by surprise in the darkness and captured. We never found out for sure what had happened to them. Other than that it was a quiet night! We held this position for another couple of days and then were trucked back to Etienville to await another mission assignment.

.30 cal

A .30 cal Browning light machinegun like Lew used.

Editor’s Note: We will continue Lew’s story in our next issue. Also we still have Earl Moore’s memories of his wartime service sent in to us by his son Michael, as well as some memories of William Judson that were kindly shared by his son Tom. I wish you all a blessed Holiday Season and the best of health and happiness for 2015. PLEASE keep sending me your stories and photos!! Until then - as always - THANKS FOR READING!

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THANKS FOR READING!

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