508TH COMES HOME - recent
ceremonies held at Kandahar Air Base completed the transfer of the 4th
BCT's AO to 1st BCT, 4th Infantry Division. The ceremony marked the
official ending of the Red Devils and the 4th BCT’s 12-month tour.
Welcome home troopers … job well done!
SICK CALL – Word has reached us that GEORGE FAIRMAN of
Rosemead, CA had what his son described as a “pretty bad stroke” and is
currently in intensive care. GEORGE, JR. reports “There isn't much they
can do at this point, just monitor him and see how things go over the
next few days. Say a couple prayers for him”.
AIRBORNE COMMUNITY, IT’S A SMALL WORLD – KELLY
CARRIGG, a recently retired Lt. Colonel will soon be teaching French at
St. Francis High School in Athol Spring, NY.
KELLY is a parachutist herself and a past
commander of the only VFW post (605) in Paris, France. She is also a
member of VFW post 9249 in Grand Island, NY, which is named for the late
PFC Charles N. DeGlopper who received the MOH posthumously for his
actions at La Fière on 9 June 1944. Needless to say, she is tuned in to
parachute history in Normandy.
During the process of getting acquainted
with the school where she will teach, she discovered that a FRANCIS
MATERNOWSKI was an alumnus (class of 1931) of the school. She speculated
that he may have been the man who became the well known 508th chaplain.
Her announcement touched off a flurry of research by BILL NATION and
DICK O’DONNELL and it was soon proved that it was indeed the same
FATHER MATERNOWSKI, it was learned, was the
son of WALENTY and WICTORYA MATERNOWSKI of Holyoke, Massachusetts. The
family appears not only in the Federal Census but also in Holyoke City
Directories over a number of years.
By quirk of the alphabet, the directory listings for
the MATERNOWSKI family directly follow those of Mater Dolorosa
elementary school in Holyoke where FRANK and his brother PETER attended
school as lads.
After graduating from high school FRANK
migrated to Athol Springs, NY and is listed in the 1930 census as a
student attending St. Francis College in Hamburg Town, Erie County, New
It was also determined that he subsequently attended
the Franciscan Seminary in Ellicott City, Maryland. His education for
the priesthood in the Order of Minor Conventuals (a branch of the
Franciscans) was completed at the Grand Seminary in Montreal with his
ordination on 3 June, 1933.
It is customary in the priesthood that a new first
name is chosen at ordination and FRANK took on the name of IGNATIUS.
FATHER IGNATIUS P. MATERNOWSKI went into the Army in
1943 and was assigned to an armored unit at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN.
He later volunteered for parachutist duty and completed jump school.
After pinning on his parachutist badge he was sent to Camp Mackall, NC
and joined the 508th PIR for advanced training.
Unfortunately, FATHER MATERNOWSKI was
trying to find medical supplies on June 13, 1944 in Normandy when a
sniper’s bullet killed him. He lies today in the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery
in South Hadley, MA, very close to where he grew up.
UNSUNG HEROES – As we continue our research
using both Morning Reports and General Orders, we cannot help but notice
the accuracy of the Company Clerks. Sitting
behind the lines, their brand of hot metal was typically a Remington
typewriter as they pounded out various official documents.
As an example, only 73 erroneous entries of either ASN
or surnames were noted amongst 1277 CIB awards reviewed thus far,
approximately a 5% error rate.
In 1945, General Order #16 was comprised of
eight double-columned pages. It listed 1003 awards of the Bronze Service
Arrowhead for men who participated in the invasion of Normandy. With
just 52 ASN errors committed it also had about a 5% rate.
Considering the monotony of typing line
after line of names and numbers, we think these guys did a remarkable
job and probably never were properly recognized for it. It’s time
someone did, so we say, “GREAT WORK GUYS, THANKS FOR ALL THE EXTRA
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