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17th Airborne Division veterans meet for reunion

Updated: Saturday, April 26 2014, 11:55 PM EDT

Wheeling, W.Va. -
A few veterans who served in the 17th Airborne Division during World War II and their family members gathered this weekend for a reunion at the Hampton Inn in Wheeling.

John Kormann, Gene Herrmann, Leonard Lindenbaum and Ed Good - all from different parts of the country - got together to remember "Operation Varsity," which was on March 24, 1945.  

"We were the only American Airborne Division dropped into Germany itself on the worst day for the Allied airborne in WWII when we took 1,070 killed and almost 4,000 wounded under British General Montgomery," Kormann said.

Herrmann has never missed a reunion. He said he is lucky to still be here.

"My glider didn't get too much damage and I was lucky enough to come out in one piece. There were other guys who were very badly hurt and it was quite a scene. I was surprised how calm I was getting to my position that," he said.

The 17th Airborne Division Association no longer exists but descendants of these veterans keep the group alive. They are called "scions."

"Scions means descendants of nobility, our children and grandchildren, and this will go on for years and years, our scions of the 17th Airborne Division, descendants of the brave," Kormann said.

Kormann said there are not many WWII veterans left and that is why it is important for them to get together for the reunions.

"There's not many of us left and it's a privilege, it's truly a privilege to see old friends and see fellows who are veterans and everyone treats us so well, they really do, because we're dying off awfully fast," Kormann said.

The group will continue to have reunions each year.

17th Airborne Division veterans meet for reunion


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