"TAPS"

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Thomas F. Joyce
3 March 2005

 

Friends: 

My brother sent to me your organization's website address a few weeks back.  Unfortunately, our father, Thomas F. Joyce, Jr., 87, a Sergeant in the 2nd Platoon, "D" Company, 503d PRCT, passed away suddenly this past Thursday, March 3.  I had hoped to have had more time to explore your organization's information, and discuss it with him, but, death never happens at a convenient time, it seems. 

Born to an Irish immigrant and Marine Captain in Quantico, VA, Tom Joyce had been living in Pequannock, NJ, where he settled shortly after the War.  Married to a WAVE, Josephine (Kiechle) Joyce, for 54 years, who survives him, as well as five loving children (Marilina Joyce, Thomas III, Kathleen (Joyce) Concord, Frederick and Dennis), 5 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.  He had taken care of himself up until the end;

Dad had a sudden illness about 10 days ago that required surgery, his heart never recovered from the surgery,  and he passed away peacefully with family members at his side. 

It seems to me there are two types of Veterans who came out of WWII:  those who constantly talk about their experience, and, those who never talk about it.  Our Dad was in the latter camp; it was only very late in his life that we began to get any of the details of his military experience out of him.  To our knowledge, he never kept in touch with any of his old Platoon mates. 

Please pass this message along to the members of this terrific and proud organization.   Our family would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any memories of our father, (we'll take the bad with the good!) and, if anyone happens to have any photographs of him that you could email to us, that would be terrific. 

I  commend every member of this organization for  your efforts in keeping the proud history of the 503d alive.  Thank you all for your fine work then and now.

Very best regards

 Rick Joyce
3101 Little Creek Lane

Alexandria, VA  22309
(703) 360-6210
email:  rjoycezz@zzvenable.com

George B. Clay
26 February 2005

  My name is Kay Eisenbise,  niece of  George B. Clay.   My uncle was a very proud man and very proud of his service in the 503d.  It was his passion in life to be with all his pals and their widows whenever he could attend an event.  He unfortunately passed away on Feb. 26th in a hospice facility in Tempe, Arizona after suffering a fall and lapsing into a coma  from which he never recovered.  He was last doing what he enjoyed the best.  He had fallen after he came out of a Restaurant at a Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona following a luncheon he attended with his 503rd Group. 

Some of the group already know his fate as I had talk with a few of the folks from the group.  I just want to let you all know that the funeral home will let me know as soon as we can get a date set up for his memorial service that will be help, hopefully sometime in April, 2005, preferably the first week. 

We as a family hope that some of you who knew and loved my Uncle George as we did, would come to his memorial veteran's service at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona on Cave Creek Road and Pinnacle Peak Roads when I inform you of his service.  We will all miss my Uncle's stories of the 503d and how much he enjoyed being with everyone whenever you all could meet.  He meant the world to me and my family and will be sorely missed.  We live in Pennsylvania so we will be traveling back to Phoenix for his service.  He's survived by his sister, Elizabeth Eisenhower, who is my Mother.  She is 87 years old and is not in good health physically to travel there and prefers to remember him as he was anyway.  My cousin Tom Clay and I will be there and hopefully some of our extended family.  Thanks to all who cared about him and if you want to contact me my email address is: Ksmileyonezz@zzaol.com.  Thank you folks and keep up your meetings, he will always be with you all in spirit and he had that spirit right up to the end even though he wasn't aware of it.  He is resting in God's arms now and we are so glad he was very active up to the end.  What more could he have hoped for and for us to hope for.  We will never forget my Uncle George, he was very dear to us. 

Thank you again!  
Fondly, Kay Eisenbise

-o-0-o-

Dear Mrs. Kay Eisenbise,

I am so sorry to learn that your Uncle George passed away. This would have been a great opportunity to go to Pinnacle Peak and pay my respects to a fellow paratrooper, but I live in Manila. Sometimes I visit my married daughter who lives in Scottsdale, AZ, a few blocks from the cemetery at Pinnacle Peak-Cave Creek area - but unfortunately, not this year. It would have been a great honor for me to represent the Philippines, a country that is grateful for the heroic service of the officers and men of the 503rd PRCT.

When I was still an active paratrooper with the Philippine Army, my unit had the honor of welcoming several 503rd veterans in 1978, when they made a nostalgia visit to Corregidor. In their farewell party, we gave each of them official orders of the Philippine Army awarding them the Philippine Army Parachutist Badge. I am not sure if your Uncle George was among the group.

Since then, I have been in close contact with the many people who have manifested a continued interest in Corregidor and its history, like your friend Paul Whitman of Australia. It is from him that I received the tragic news about your Uncle George.

My best wishes to you and your family. Please accept my condolences and prayers.

Very respectfully,
Brigadier General Ramon M. Ong (Ret)
Armed Forces of the Philippines

Wilburn E. "Bitsy" Grant
18 September  2004

 Wilburn "Bitsy" Grant died last Saturday. I know no details except he suffered from dementia. He always attended our SW Chapter reunions, the Corregidor Dinner which lasts 4 days. He has missed the last two even though he signed-up to come.

Bitsy was a 501st PB officer, but he was liked by all of we "Johns" who came later. In fact when he was president of 501st PB association, he made me an honorary member so I thought a lot of him and tried to take care of him when he was able to come.  Bitsy, Ben Luscomb (another great friend who passed away a few years ago), and Jerry Riseley were in the 158th Inf. They went to Jones' jump school in Panama and became 501st members.

 courtesy Bill Calhoun

-o-0-o-

My father Colonel (ret.) Wilburn E. "Bitsy" Grant passed away at his home in North Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 18, 2004, after several years of declining health.  He will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, October 27, following a service to be held in the Fort Myers Chapel at 9:00 AM.   Many of you who knew Daddy also knew Mother, who was interred there following her death in 1997. 

My father had many fond memories of his days as part of this organization, and my sister Katherine and I grew up hearing about his friends and his experiences.  Even in his last months, he was able to recall those and to discuss the reunions he had attended and how much they had meant to him.  He was greatly disappointed that he was not able to continue being present in the past few years.

In 1984, when my own daughter did a school report on World War II, she sent a questionnaire to a number of men who had served during that time.  One of the questions was "What do you remember most about your participation in World War II?"   Daddy's reply to this was, "I remember a 42-day boat ride and 31 months of overseas service in a hostile and dangerous environment, mostly in the jungle.  I never knew when I was coming home nor whether I was coming home.  But I also remember sharing experiences and dangers with interesting and courageous comrades, some of whom did not make it home.  The healthy mind rejects traumatic, horrid experiences and retains impressions of pleasant and rewarding ones.  I am happy that the memories that I most frequently recall are pleasant and satisfying."  Many of you who will read this played a part in this portion of his life, and I want you to know that he always remembered you and cherished his friendships from those years.

Elizabeth Jane Grant Fisher
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

-o-0-o-


Plans and Training People make a big thing about engaging in intellectual activity of a mysterious type.  It is their stock in trade.  Wilburn E. "Bitsy" Grant studied under Padgett and in time became his assistant.  Bitsy did just fine until there came a time when he was pushed to the wall by Joe S. Lawrie.  Lawrie was Regimental Executive Officer under Colonel Kinsler.  Every man and officer in the regiment knew that even though Lt. Col. George M. Jones was commander of the 2nd Bn, and was not Regimental Officer, that Colonel Jones in fact did rank Joe S. Lawrie, who was also a Lt. Colonel.  There came a time in the tour, when the regiment needed masking tape to tape up the jump planes.  Lawrie called Bitsy before him and demanded to know why Grant had not been able to obtain masking tape.    “I’ve looked everywhere for masking tape,“ is the legendary Grant reply, “and I haven’t been able to find any.  I even drank a barrel of glue, ate a barrel of sawdust and tried to get some that way, but it didn’t work.”

Grant came back to join my club of Mess Officers, Ex mess Officers, and Assistant Platoon Leaders.  In other words Lawrie got him fired.

 courtesy Gerry Riseley

 

Jesse Castillo
March 2004

A memorial service will be held for Jesse Sunday, March 21 at the Todd Memorial Chapel, 325 North Indian Hill, Claremont from 5 to 8PM. Graveside services will be conducted at site 3, Riverside National Cemetery Monday, March 22 at 9.30 AM. The family requests, in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Optimist Youth Home and Family Service, 6957 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042. [Source Los Angeles Times via John  Lindgren]

 

Lt. Thomas R. Marshall
G Company, 503d PRCT
16 September 2003

 Clarence Center, NY.

Lt. Marshall is pictured on the far left, holding the Samurai sword.

 courtesy Chet Nycum

Eugene Bowers
503d PRCT
14 February 2004

I've got some sad news for you. My father, Eugene Bowers, passed away at Firelands Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio on Feb 14th. He had been battling heart and kidney failure for some time. It finally got the best of him. Both my sister and I got to be with dad on his final day.


John and Carol Haprian
9186 Mennonite Rd.
Wadsworth, Ohio 44281
phone  330-336-2289
e-mail 
jhaprian1zz@zzneo.rr.com

 



Jule Carr Holland Jr.
503d PRCT
3 April  2003

Jule Carr Holland, Jr., 80, died Tuesday at his home in Oriental. A Requiem Eucharist will be said by The Rev. Jeremiah C. Day on Friday at 2:00 pm at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Oriental. Mr. Holland was born December 8, 1922 in Raleigh to Jule Carr and Ala Mae Jordan Holland. He attended Gordon Military Academy in Barnesville, Georgia and North Carolina State University, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. From 1942-46 he served in the U.S. Army, seeing service in the Pacific Theater (Philippines) as a member of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. He received a number of medals and commendations including a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Following the war, he established J.C. Holland Sales Company to represent Federal Pump Corporation. He lived in Raleigh and Greensboro before moving to Oriental in 1974.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Winifred Frances (Lewis); sons, Jule Carr III of Newark, NJ and Rodney Thomas of Oriental; daughter, Patricia Ann Pope of Wrightsville Beach; and three granddaughters, Meghann Alexandra Holland, Sarah Elizabeth Harper and Bridget Harris. A son, Michael Lewis Holland, predeceased him. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Thomas Episcopal Church Memorial Fund or to Hospice of Pamlico County.


Rodney Holland
e-mail  rrrrhollandzz@zzgmail.com

 


Barto J. Mariscalco
503d PRCT
23 February 2003

My father, Barto J. Mariscalco passed away peacefully on February 23, 2003  (3/27/23- 2/23/03), preceded in death by his wife, Joan Ann, on 5/14/96. He didn’t often speak about his time in the 503rd, and the Philippines, but he did so enough that I immediately recognized many of the descriptions on your website.


JMike Mariscalo
e-mail 
qeizz@zzqeiengineers.com

 

Lois Mullaney
503d PRCT
13 November  2002

Lois Catherine Mullaney, 78, wife of James "Jungle Jim" Mullaney (Captain, "H" Co)  of Louisville died Wednesday, November 13, 2002 at their home.

She was the former Lois Catherine Penn born on July 21, 1924 in Frankfort, KY  She was the Founder and President of Kentuckiana Surveys, which she successfully owned and managed for over twenty years (presently known as Marketing Research of Kentuckiana.)

She was also a member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church and a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 220. 

She is survived by her husband of 60 years James Martin Mullaney; four sons John; Marty (Gloria); Kevin (Debbie); Steve (Laura); three daughters Connie Pearl (Jim); Mary Lea Quick (Kerry); Sally Sanders (Mark); 14 grandchildren; Brenda Schulz, Barbara Pearl Kehoe, Pat Mullaney, Marty Pearl, Kelly Ewing, Colleen Pearl Pittman, Kathy Marcum, Amanda Mullaney, Kaitlin Mullaney Sanders, Megan Mullaney, Jimmy Mullaney, Audrey Mullaney Sanders, Ryan Mullaney, Jeff Mullaney; 7 great-grandchildren and a brother; Cecil Penn of Georgetown, Kentucky; several nieces and nephews. 

Bill Cheek
503d PRCT
11 October  2002

I am writing to tell you of Bill Cheek. He passed away this morning October 11, 2002, at about 1:00 am. He found out about 3 weeks ago that he had mesothelioma (cancer) of the lung . He also had congestive heart failure-- both illnesses were just too much.  He will be at Adams-Brown Funeral Home ,Highway 431 , Albertville  Alabama , 5:00-9:00p.m. Sat. Oct. 12 and funeral will be at the funeral home at 2:00 pm. Sunday Oct. 13. Thanks for  forwarding this , he did get some cards from you all during his hospital stay. He enjoyed hearing from his old buddies, he read them  all. He will be greatly missed... The phone for his is wife-256-840-9752.  I appreciate all your efforts.  Thank you ,

God Bless em all!! 

Jo Ann Cheek
 

 

Archie C. Davidson
503d PRCT
16 SEPTEMBER 2002

Archie C. Davidson, a former New City postmaster and longtime community activist, died yesterday in Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern.

Davidson, 81, was appointed New City postmaster in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower. As postmaster, he participated in congressional hearings to improve the U.S. Postal Service that were held in the 1970s at Bear Mountain.  He remained postmaster until 1980, and in retirement took a job as a bus driver for the Clarkstown Central School District and drove until 1996.

He was considered something of an unofficial historian of Clarkstown and was often quoted in newspaper articles about the town and its history from farm country to a suburban community.

Davidson was a decorated World War II Army veteran who enlisted shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. An airborne combat veteran, he saw action as a sergeant in numerous assaults in the Pacific, including New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. He was a member of the 503rd Regimental Combat Team and participated in the airborne invasion of Corregidor in 1945.

After the war, Davidson worked at Rockland Farms and became active in the Republican Party in Clarkstown.

An outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing and hunting with his family and friends around Lake Lucille in New City and upstate. He was a former member of the semipro Rockland Farmers baseball team. He also coached Clarkstown Little League baseball before it became the New City Little League.

Davidson also was a past president and life member of the New City Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Courtesy Doug Davidson


Caffery J. Dugas
503d PRCT
17 APRIL 2002

 

Caffery J. Dugas of Opelousas, LA. died at about 10:45PM April 17, 2002. His health had been declining, especially over the prior six months. He did not suffer and passed peacefully with his wife, Elmae, at his side.

He had served in the 503rd as a Tech/4 with Service Co. from Sept. 1942 till Oct. 1945, jumping at Nadzab and Noemfoor. He visited "The Rock" by boat.

We would like to thank the 503rd Association for welcoming us into the fold. Our only regret is that we had not found you earlier.

Don Ziler
 503d PRCT
25 JUNE 2002

Ben Guthrie informed me that Col. Don Ziler died earlier this month.

Don was buried at Arlington Friday Sept. 6, 2002

The last time I talked to him he intended to go to Branson even though
his health has been bad for a number of years.

Col. Ziler served in "H" Company for most of the war.  His home was in
El Paso, Texas.

May he rest in peace
Jim Mullaney
 

Bob McGetchin
HONORARY 503d PRCT
25 JUNE 2002

I am sorry to pass on that Bob McGetchin has left us. Marjean and I  spent Monday afternoon with Bob at his home. He appeared to be feeling somewhat bad, complaining of his legs, etc. His sister, Bow, called me and said she hadn't heard from him Tuesday or Wednesday and she had a fellow go to his house to check on him. He found Bob lying in bed where he had been reading. He was dead. Sorry to be the bearer of this news.

Al McGrew
Defender & Honorary 503d

What a shock to wake up on Sunday Morning to the word Bob McGetchin has left our fold of Corregidor lovers. Somehow I never gave a thought to the possibility he might precede me and other old time 503rd veterans.  Bob was much younger than the rest of us. He would always be there for us. Now who is going to fill us in on what the bad guys are doing to us today?

So long Bob.  Pave the way for us.

Don Abbott
503d PRCT  

What a shock! I'm lost for words.  Bob was a stirrer, and I shall miss his constant stream of invective & comments on the military, guns, & (above all) the man v. women thing.  A little while ago he sent me a photo of a nude, big breasted blonde in sunglasses holding up two large bass, and with it the comment "If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know I've gone fishing.  I may  never return! (Sgd) Happy Poorboy" 

Paul Whitman
Honorary 503d

I'm numb and in a state of shock.  Bob was truly a very good friend and lovable character.  He was gruff, but had a heart of gold.  He loved to shock people with his e-mails, trying to get a reaction out of them. Then he would get upset when someone returned the favor.  He gave the appearance that he was tight and miserly with his money, but was always helping someone in need.  He lived a full, exciting, adventurous life.  He was a great patriot, clearly understanding the problems that confronted our county.  I felt sad for him because he had an all consuming love for a woman who wanted nothing to do with him.  She sought happiness, never realizing that it was on her door step, ringing her door bell, and asking to come in.  Now he is is gone and I will miss him greatly.

George Munson
Corregidoros 

I was never too fond of school teachers but I too will miss him in some crazy sort of way.

Art Napolitano
Corregidoros

Donald Wilson
20 MARCH 2002

My father died on 20 March 02, Donald Wilson was his name he always talked about the 503rd He was in Austraila and new Guinea during WW2 I have his jump wings and a few other things related to that time. Did anyone know him? He was from Cumberland Maryland. Thanks a lot for your service and any help. 

Larry Wilson
larrywilson99zz@zzyahoo.com

Charlie Christian
16 February 2002

Amigos, 

Once again it is my sad responsibility to let you know another of our stalwarts passed away. Charlie Christian, long time "D" company soldier passed away several days ago. Margie notified us at the Texas Corregidor event. She could give no more details. As you know he suffered for years with a breathing problem. On two occasions we had to help him along late one night when he could hardly take in a breath. As you know he served his entire life in the service and was very proud of it. I have written a letter to Mildred and hope you do likewise. 

Regards, 
Tony Sierra D Company

-o-0-o-

My dad passed away on February 16. I believe that was the anniversary date of the Corregidor jump, how ironic.

Regards, 
Joe Christian

Albert L. Tait
10 JAN 2002

My father was Albert L. Tait, a Field Artillery officer with the 462d PFA Battalion. I think he was a Major at war's end, but I am not sure of his rank when the jump was made on Corregidor. Anyway, I just wanted to let the 503rd Association know that he passed away on January 10, 2002, in Sun City, Arizona. He would have been 90 on April 17. My dad stayed in the Army after the war, retiring as a Colonel in 1966. He was a fine man and an excellent officer, and will be missed. Thanks. 

Lew Tait

A. J. Tony Knizel
30 NOVEMBER 2001

2nd platoon 1st sqd. co E 503pir/rct

I regret to inform you that another paratrooper has passed away. Tony died on November 30, 2001 at a Birmingham, Al. hospital. He had a minor operation (corpal tunnel surgery) and developed a staff infection. He was in ICU for 30 days and he fought very hard to his last breath. 

My father did not talk about the war very much until his latter years. A old military buddy ( Parke Lessig) visited my father in his latter years and this is when I learned about his war experiences. My father was proud of the 503 and his U.S. citizenship. My father was born in Pittsburgh ,PA. in 1918 to Lithuanian immigrant parents. The family returned to Lithuania in 1920 and my father grew up in that country. He attended the Lithuanian Military Academy and was a cadet when WWII began in Europe. He was able to return to the U.S. and was drafted into the army prior to Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for the airborne after boot camp. He could not speak English when he was drafted and had to learn during basic training. I know that my dad made the Nadzab jump and was in the Philippines.  If any one that served with my dad could assist me with info about his military service I would appreciate the help.

Mike A. Knizel
maknizelzz@zzyahoo.com

John F. Fox
27 JULY 2000

From Son of John F. Fox

John died July 27, 2001. He is my Father and recently best friend. I am sorry to see him go but like all fallen in battle I am proud to have been his oldest son. He had six children and will be interned at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. I am sorry but I cry for my Dad as you cried for your fallen as you jumped on Corregidor and Noemfoor and Mindoro. 

Dad jumped all 3.

He will be place to rest with all the vets at the Sam Houston National Cemetery Friday August 3 at approx 13:00 Hours. I could compose an eulogy for my Dad but I am sure all his comrades can do much better as you were at his side in WWII. His wife and my Mother remain along with 3 additional brothers and 2 sisters. If any of his comrades are in the San Antonio Area please join us for his final resting place. He retired as a Lt. Col. in the MC and there are not may in that group with 3 bronze stars on the jump wings. I can be reached at jfoxzz@zztnrcc.state.tx.us Our family can be reached at (512) 249-0951

My Dad left a Jacket with many jump badges with a museum and his family does not know where it was placed. We do not want it back but do have other pictures and memorabilia that may deserve a place in history. 

John F. Fox, Jr. 
Born Nov. 4, 1946 

Dear John and Family,

Our most sincere condolences are sent to you and your family on the death of your father John F. Fox. I receive e-mail for my father, Raymond M. Basham who was with the 503rd during WWII and jumped on Corregidor along with your Dad and all the 503rd. I will sadly pass along this message to Dad. Thank you for making this announcement. You and your family should be very proud of your father and his contributions to our great country and I am sure that you are. God bless you all and may you find comfort in knowing that all of the 503rd and their families share in your loss. I am among the people who strongly feel that your father and mine where "The Greatest Generation."

Very Sincerely,
Lin Basham for: 
Raymond M. Basham, SSgt. 503rd PRCT

John,

I am one of the fellows from the 503rd parachute group. I received your letter about your Dad's passing. I did not know your father on a one to one basis but the death of any of our troopers is a loss for all of us. I take particular saddness with each fading. :Your father was a second Lt. in Headquarters, Third Battalion and as such I can calculate he was one of the first to jump on Corregidor. Possibly on the second or third plane. The only remaining troopers I can come up with at the moment who might have served with him on a day to day basis are Nelson Gatewood from Arkansas and George Funk from Phoenix, Arizona. I looked up this info in our memorial book from Corregidor and I believe it is correct. I am sure you will be hearing from others who might have known your Dad on a more intimate basis. It is ironic but I am typing this at the very moment of his buriel. You are rightfully proud of your Dad, he had to be a great patriot and I am certain he was a loving father.

Regards,
Tony Sierra
D Company

Joe Conway
9 MARCH 2000 

A Tribute to a Great Paratrooper

The message Lois and I expected anytime was on the phone recorder but that didn’t diminish the shock and sorrow of its’ content. Edna’s voice came on and stated that Joe had died after a week of intense suffering and many years of illness.

Yes Joe was gone to a better place:

Yes, gone away from the oxygen tubes – the doctors – the hospitals – the horrible days of discomforts and the occasional “good day”. Quite often on the “good days” Joe would call and it was hard to tell he was ill. Unless questioned directly the suffering would not be mentioned. Just the news of the others troopers and how fate was treating them – not Joe.

Let’s digress somewhat:

I first met Joe Conway in April 1942

We were fellow members of the Fort Benning’s Parachute Jump School Class 18A. It was here I first noticed how Joe had an unusual ability to deflate the pompous and readily see through the rhetoric of our instructors and classmates.

He was an officer’s officer and an enlisted man’s officer all combined in one. He possessed a sense of humor that I’ve found unmatched to this day.

After leaving the school at Benning we went to Fort Bragg for assignment to the 503.  It was being formed into a Regiment – the first in the Airborne. Joe went to Company “A” and I went to the Third Bn. Company “H”. We still saw each other often and drank many a beer in Fayetteville and on the Post.

Eventually – October 10, 1942 - the regiment left the Carolinas and headed for the South West Pacific area. Joe stayed in the First Bn. for our first mission to the Islands. Upon our return to Australia after the Nadzab –Markham Valley mission there was a great shake-up of officers with-in the regiment. Joe called one day to tell me the good news that he had been assigned to Company “H”. We celebrated and he was almost un-assigned before he was assigned. Col. Jones wisely overlooked this and the historical days of “H” were to begin.

The rest of the story is well known by nearly all 503 troopers.  Joe served as company commander – battalion executive officer and battalion commander as the conflict progressed. He was decorated for bravery but not nearly as often as he should have been. I never once saw him flinch – never loose his cool – and never unjustly accuse anyone else of loosing their cool. His actions in each ensuing battle made me wonder just what he was made of. How did the small town of Duquesne, Pa. produce such a man.

The battles ended – we went home to forget the wars but that was not to be. I arrived in Kentucky in December 1945 and a few days later my friend and ex-commander showed up at my door. That is when Lois first met Joe. She has loved him since. We again, of course, celebrated the war’s end for a few days before he headed to his home near Pittsburgh.

After a short stay at home he returned to the service and participated in the Korean “Police Action”. Not in the rear area but in the forefront of that cruel war. Joe had to be where the action was taking place - be it a crap game or a major battle. After a distinguished career he retired to Estill Springs, Tenn with his wonderful Edna and family. They came to visit us on many occasions. He loved to work in his garden as well as spending untold hours performing charitable deeds for the less fortunate. Numerous days were spent working the Tennessee soil with the oxygen pack strapped to his back ( a la musette bag).

Once again – let me ask – where does this great country get soldiers like Joseph M. Conway? Soldiers like Joe were not only superb themselves but persuaded others to perform deeds of courage that would not have occurred under a different commander.

Requiescat in Pace - Joe Conway. You’ll never be forgotten by your fellow troopers of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team

Requiescat in Pace.

 Jim Mullaney


Andy Amaty
FAYETTEVILLE, SEPT 2001

I write with heavy heart to advise you that on the morning that we  were packing to come home from what was a great reunion in Fayetteville, Andy Amaty (HQ Coy, 1st Bn) collapsed whilst loading his car.  He could not be revived. Several hours before, he was telling me a story and ended, " Well, that was a hell of a way to die, but then, there's no good way to die." I think that  with his regiment nearby, and after a brilliant reunion more than half a century afterwards, he almost challenged his own statement. I still hear his voice. 

I had only known Andy for a few days, and saw in him the indomitable spirit of what he described to me as 'the Civilian in Uniform'.  I'm not qualified to write his epitaph, but invite  all of you to remember him in your prayers, and perhaps one of you who know him better can write his epitaph. I, for one,  thank God he was around long enough for me to get to know him. 

Paul F. Whitman

Andy Amaty lived for several years in Burbank and naturally was involved with the chapter here. He was the treasurer and being a promoter of the KISS [keep it simple stupid] principle he, as far as I could tell, kept the finances of the chapter on a cash basis. He took in cash and paid the bills with greenbacks. During his tenure we hosted the 503 reunion in Buena Park, he reluctantly agreed to open a checking account since we were dealing with big bucks. He held membership card number four; George Jones had number one. A dedicated activist in the association; it was he and people like him who nourished the idea to form a club where the 503rd paratroopers could meet now and then to keep the comradeships they had formed and the hardships they all shared as very young men, alive. We should all be grateful to him and if there is a word to describe this unique man it would be enthusiastic with a capital E.

John Lindgren

Andrew J. Amaty entered the military service on 6 October 1941 per request of "Greetings" from Uncle Sam.   He completed basic training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia on 7 December 1941 and volunteered for parachute training two days later. He was a member of Jump Class #9 which graduated from Fort Benning in February 1942. Assigned after graduation to the 503rd Parachute Battalion, which later became the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, the first US parachute regiment activated. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion.  With the 503rd, he participated in the combat jumps in Nadzab, Noemfoor and Corregidor, and the landings on Mindoro and Negros. During the Corregidor mission he served as 1st Battalion communications Chief with the rank of Staff Sergeant, and performed the same duties on the Negros Island mission, which lasted from April until mid-August 1945. He was discharged honorably from the service on 31 October 1945. -  

John D. Reynolds

 

Emery B. Graham
29 JUNE 2000

Sgt/Mgr Emery B. Graham, former S2 scout, RHQ,  died last night, 29 June 2000. His daughter advised me he passed away between 11:00pm and 3:45 am.  Boy, was he a great guy. 

He hung on from day to day for over two weeks. My sweetie and I went to see him a few weeks ago and I did not think he would last but a day or two, but he has. With him  gone, my mind needs to turn to his happy memories.

Emery B. Graham is pictured (above) from left to right as an S2 scout assigned to RHQ. 503rd paratroopers in Noemfoor; at the end of Negros campaign on R & R; In Japan attached as (Sgt/mg) to 187th Paratroopers in Korea (with his wife) and finally at Fort Huachuca for Military Intelligence ceremony in 1996. 

Graham was one of two scouts who walked ahead of the M-7 (commanded by Bill Hartman) bringing water and medical supplies from South Beach to Topside on Corregidor, clearing roads of mines. [SEE ARTICLE] He is typical of paratroopers who served as 'lifers' and retired unceremoniously after 23 years. He's a real hero. 

Tony Sierra
D Coy

Arnie Williams
8 JUNE 2000

Arnie Williams passed away 8 June, 2000. He was in "H" Company and was wounded and sent home from Corregidor. Mass was celebrated in Santa Monica and he was buried in his home town, Dubuque, Iowa. The Williams brothers were warriors; one was killed in WWII. Arnie was proud of their patriotism, and gifted the "THIEVES" banner to the Association. By what has now become tradition, the Thieves Banner is draped at reunions from the highest point. He was the most loyal member of the association, never missing a single muster. He loved the 503d, and we are again diminished because another trooper is gone. 

Tony Sierra
D Company

Dr. Charles H. Bradford
17 MAY 2000

Charlie died 17 May 2000 in Marshfield, MA., at the age of 95. The cause of death was a heart attack and according to his sister Elizabeth Bradford the end came peacefully and without suffering. 

A graduate of Harvard University (1926 magna cum laude) and Harvard Medical School (1931), he was a highly respected skilled orthopaedic surgeon who practiced at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge MA..  During WWII Doc Bradford [he preferred to be called Charlie] was the 2nd Battalion 503rd's Surgeon respected by all for being a fine soldier, and for his compassionate treatment of the men in the battalion.  He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery; he was the first to reach D Company, bravely advancing under enemy fire to attend to a large number of the company's paratroopers wounded in a bloody night battle and who were desperately needing medical attention. For many years he was the oldest living member of the association. He has told many of his 503rd comrades that his years of wartime service as a paratrooper in the Pacific were the most rewarding of his long full, distinguished life. 

John Lindgren
D Coy

Read "An Afternoon With Charlie Bradford" by John Lindgren 

Read Larry Browne's recollections about Charlie Bradford

 

Ray Mitchell
24 DECEMBER 1999

Once again it is my sad task to let you fellows know that another mighty trooper has left us. Ray Mitchell, D company, 2nd platoon, died on Christmas Eve, 1999. As those of you who had the pleasure to know him, recall he suffered greatly the last four to five years and showed up at the reunions hooked up to his oxygen tanks but participating in all the activities nonetheless.  Ray was a brave man not only in combat where his second platoon often used him as a way ahead scout, but also in his battle against awfully painful and exerting health problems. He often said to me," As long as I have a breath left in my body I will attend the reunions." The last time he joined us was at Valley Forge. His son, Joe drove him,  prone in the family RV. I visited him in the unit where I had a drink of "Shine"... I felt I was in a hospital room, nevertheless he ventured to parts of the reunion, appearing jovial and happy, although some of us knew he was hurtin', as he used to say. Ray Mitchell was buried at Andrew Johnson National cemetary, Greenville, Tennessee. Hs daughter Sheila asked that I notify his fellow troopers. He really cared for all of us.

reported by
Tony Sierra


Walter Press
14 DECEMBER 1999

Walter Press, Pfc, 503 RCT, Battery A - served with bravery and distinction all over the Pacific Theatre - Born: 3/12/20 - Died of natural causes: 12/14/99 - At: Randolph, NJ. Leaving two children, four grandchildren, a wife of 57 years, and 35 years of serving the City of New York with valor as a much decorated police detective.  Walter always was extremely proud to be a fighting member of the 503rd and was so very proud of all of you. I am so very proud of him and all of you too. I miss him, and I know he missed you! I know, since I am his son.

God Bless You All.
Richard L. Press

Roger Cushman
4 MARCH 1999

My father, Roger, jumped on Corregidor, I believe on 16 Feb 1945. He passed away on 4 Mar 1999 and will be/has been interred  in Arlington National Cemetery as a recipient of a Purple Heart during his tour on Corregidor. As he has told me, he was carrying a satchel of bazooka rockets and a sniper fired, missed him, but hit the satchel. I understand that several other men were killed during the subsequent explosion of the rockets, but my father survived holding only the handles of the satchel with quite a bit of leg injury. He wore a leg brace for years afterwards and would astound me and my brothers and friends with "clinking" the metal shrapnel into ashtrays for many years, not to mention the airport security problems. I have tried to find out if and when my dad was to be placed at Arlington but have not yet been successful. They were supposed to let us know, but over a year after his death, I have not yet heard. I want to thank you for your web page and share this quick story with you.

Dad was ornery for most of his life and pretty controlling. He told a story of acquiring a jeep on the island and drove it about for a time. For a Pfc this is some feat. Evidently, some brass was coming and dad was informed that he must relinquish the jeep. Dad being the kind of guy he was, did not want to give it up and so decided that if he couldn't have it, no one would and promptly drove it to the edge of the cliffs and jumped out... sending the jeep careening down the cliffs into the ocean. What a guy. I believe he was a corporal before that incident.

 Kathy Schreidl,
nee Cushman

Charles McLemore
29 NOVEMBER 1996

Services for Charles R. McLemore, 76, will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Rehoboth United Methodist Church with burial in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Mr. McLemore will be placed in the church at 1 p.m. Memorials may be made to the church building fund. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is in charge.

McLemore died Friday, Nov. 29, 1996. Born 15 Aug. 1920 in Englewood, N.J., he was the son of the late Charles and Florence Peck McLemore. He served with the 503rd Parachute Division in the Pacific during World War II. He worked for Seaman Electric Co. for 15 years and for Noland Co. for 27. Mr. McLemore was a member of Rehoboth United Methodist Church.

Surviving are his wife, Virgie Munn McLemore of Columbia; daughters, Sharon M. Ard of Puerto Rico and Gail D. McLemore of Columbia; and two grandchildren.

 Gail D. McLemore
 

David H. Reid
22 SEPTEMBER 1994

My Father, David H. Reid Ser#32886245 served in the 503d PIR 3d Bat HQ Coy from April 1943 to December 1945.   He received a PurpleHeart.  He passed away in September 22, 1994.  He is survived by his wife Ann, and five (5) children (David, Richard, Kathryn, Robert, and Patricia, and seven (7) grandchildren (Sean, Elizabeth, Melissa, Sophia, David, Margaret, and Annie).  He joined the NYC Police Department in 1956 and retired in 1977 after being shot in the line of duty in April 1976 as he thwarted an armed burglary and robbery.  His interment is at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, NY. 

Thank you for preserving the memories of such important men who served our country!  Thanks to your association’s website I was able to find information about his WWII service history and find others who served with him.

 Robert J. Reid
 




 

Gerard WEBER
 18 March 1994

My dad passed away on March 18, 1994 at the age of 73. Way too young for me.....he was a good man. Interestingly enough, after the war, it would be 20 years before he set foot on an airplane again, and that was to return to Australia and the Philippines to revisit Corregidor. I believe he traveled there with a small group of other vets of the 503rd. I recall seeing in his papers one or two newsletters from a 503rd veterans organization, so he did keep in touch with his fellow troopers over the years.

Notified by Susan Stoger


 

George LOHIN
29 February, 1994

George Lohin, of Brookhaven, a retired Boeing employee, died Feb. 29 at home.

Born in Courtneys Heckchersville Valley, Pa, Mr. Lohin lived in Brookhaven for 40 years.

Mr. Lohin worked at the Ford Motor Company's former Chester location for 10 years. After that, he was a sealer for 25 years at Boeing, retiring six years ago.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as a paratrooper in World War II. He made combat jumps at Lae, Numfoor and the Philippines. He was a member of the Brookhaven American Legion Post No. 94 and the 503rd Parachute RCT World War II Association.

He was a decorated veteran, having been awarded three Battle Stars and a Bronze Star with Combat Infantry Badge.

Mr. Lohin was the son of the late George Lohin and Mary S. Lohin and brother of the late Irene Tkachyk, who died in 1990. He is survived by his wife, Jean Smith Lohin; a son, George E. Lohin of Downingtown; a daughter Lynn Crowell of Wilmington, Del.; six brothers, Mike Lohin of Coal Castle, Pa, John Lohin of Parkside, Joseph Lohin and Paul Lohin, both of Minersville, Pa; Steve Lohin of California and Emil Lohin of Seltzer City, Pa.; three sisters, Verna Kostura and Helen Ann Kessler, both of Minersville, and Mary Panchicon of St. Clair, PA; and a grandaughter.

Funeral Services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the William S. Bleyler Funeral Home, 500 W. 22nd S., Upland. Burial will be in Edgewood Memorial Park, Concordville.



 

Notified by Chet Nycum

 

Arthur O. Smithback
15 September 1992

My elder brother remembers Arthur as a "tough kid." I guess he certainly was. He was my cousin.

 E.M. Ellestad
Sweden
 

John J. Tolson III
2 DECEMBER 1991

 

Lieut. Gen. John J. Tolson III, retired, who as commander of an Army division in Vietnam helped pioneer the use of helicopters as a leading instrument of modern warfare, died Monday at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. He was 76 years old and lived in Raleigh.

The cause of death was a heart attack, his family said.

It was as commander of the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in 1967 and 1968 that General Tolson used the helicopter as a shuttle to quickly move soliders and supplies to the scene of battles against elusive Vietcong guerrillas and their North Vietnamese allies.

More than 400 helicopters and 15,000 troops were under his command, and he deployed them in such major encounters as the relief of Khe Sanh and the counterthrust to the Communists' Tet offensive of 1968.

"Basically, through his skill as an aviator and his insight as a military thinker, he saw the value of the machine at his disposal," said R. Steven Maxham, director of the United States Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Mr. Tolson, a native of New Bern, N.C., studied at the University of North Carolina and graduated from West Point in 1937. In World War II, he helped to organize the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment and served on all its jumps, including the recapture of Corregidor.

After the war, he trained as an airplane and helicopter pilot, was appointed the Army's chief of doctrine and combat development and later was commander of aviation training at Fort Rucker. He wrote a manual on the helicopter's value in air transport, although at the time many officers remained dubious of its value.

When he put theory into practice in Vietnam, he was at the front line himself. He logged more than 1,000 hours of combat flying and barely escaped death when enemy bullets tore through the door and windshield of the helicopter he was flying.

After his Vietnam tour, he was promoted from major general to lieutenant general and given command of Fort Bragg, N.C. There he continued to be an innovator. Publicly acknowledging illict drugs as a growing problem, he granted amnesty and provided treatment for soldiers who came forward, a departure from the usual practice of discharging offenders. He also assigned soldiers to help impoverished towns near the base with medical care, school repairs and other aid.

General Tolson retired in 1973 as deputy commander of the Continental Army and for the next four years was secretary of North Carolina's Military and Veterans Affairs Department. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a past president of the Association of the United States Army.

His survivors are his wife, the former Margaret Jordan Young; two sons, David C. Tolson of Atlanta and John J. Tolson of Arlington, Va., and a daughter, Harriet B. Tolson of East Haddam, Conn.

 Bruce Lambert
 

 

Charles J. Hartis
3 JULY 1991

Charles J. Hartis – Staff Sgt. 3rd Battalion, Co. I of the 503rd -  passed away on July 3rd, 1991.   He was very proud of his service in the Army, especially the 503rd.   He was only 68 when he died as a result of Lung Cancer.  He was diagnosed when he was 61. He started out in Monroe, NC – then to Fort Jackson – Fort Bragg – Fort Benning, Ga – 503rd – Pacific Theatre.    

Rosemary Hartis-Fore Rentz
South Carolina