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From The


September 2010

     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 person.
     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 York.
     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 EFFORT!”


Dick O’Donnell
760 Conestee Drive

Melbourne, FL 32904
PH: (321) 759-6174
e-mail: Jumpmaster@508PIR.org

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