Paratrooper Poetry
Avenging Eagles
by Ben Gear HQ/3 502 PIR

Bobbing low and flying high
Motors thunder through the sky
Prop blasts over strut and wing
Maddened demons howl and sing
And out of this, we are set to fall
With a handful of silk and God, that's all.

A small red light gleams at the door...
throws blood red pools on metal floor.
Beyond is space, vast dark and deep...
awake ye screaming ones from sleep!
For out of this you've got to fall,
With a handful of silk and God, that's all.

But our hearts beat high for the land we love,
and our courage comes from the one above.
When down from the clouds with our weapons of Hell,
we drop to avenge our friends who fell.
Thus all we need when we get the call,
is a handful of silk...and God...that's all.

My first volume of 101st Airborne WWII 'forbidden tales' was published in June of 2006. So far, as I write this in October, 2006, reaction to the book has been 99% favorable. Only two veterans of B/502 have criticized me for what I wrote about a certain member of their company.
I'll be doing a followup edition, to cover the rest of WW2, as volume 1 only goes up to the summer of 1944 (post-Normandy).
In the meantime, I'm writing a contractual book for Zenith Press, (a division of Motorbooks).
This is a large format photo history of the 101st Airborne in WW2, entitled "101st Airborne-The Screaming Eagles in WW2". The deadline for this book is January, 2007, with a planned publication date of August, 2007. After that book, I plan to do both volume 2 of AE's and my long-delayed company history of Fox Co. 501 PIR.

'Vanguard of the Crusade' was discontinued by Aegis/Aberjona Press in October, 2006 and is now out of print and unavailable. After the several projects listed above are completed, I'll move on to another writing genre and start my trilogy about life on the Detroit Police Department between 1974-1999.
I'll soon post a preview here, of Volume 2, AE's.

In 1944, Nazi propagandists told the French people to be afraid of American Airborne soldiers, because they were mostly violent criminals, who had been released from prisons in America, to serve in combat as parachutists. The above photo of Frank Anness (D/506th), taken in Camp Toccoa, GA in 1942, would've been a good shot to help support their claims. Actually, although Frank's photo looks like it was removed from a post office wall, he never spent a day in jail in his life. However, Frank's 'mug shot' would probably make a good cover photo for Volume 2 of AE's.

When Bastogne was relieved by General Patton's Third Army, a Time magazine reporter interviewed one of the paratroopers who had successfully defended Bastogne. What was the secret? What set the 101st Airborne apart from other units in the U.S. Army? The paratrooper snorted and told the reporter:"What the hell-everybody in this outfit is crazy, including me. If we weren't, we wouldn't be in it!" This concept hooked me and led me on a 30 year project of meeting nearly 1000 survivors of the WW2 101st Airborne, in an attempt to study the lowest common denominator. I've tried to figure out what made the enlisted combat soldiers and junior officers tick.
The photo above, depicting a 101st trooper with his foot on the head of a dead Panzergrenadier, was taken outside Bastogne, Belgium in December, 1944. In the rear is a knocked-out Mark IV tank.
This photo was taken by divisional photographer Albert A. Krochka.

Windy City Crowd
Rudy Korvas, who became a paratrooper in F/501, took this picture beside the 5 Star Liquor store on the north side of Chicago, shortly before entering the Army. This was part of the crowd he ran with. Two other F company troopers came from the south side: Leroy Prahm and Don Schinkoeth. Both of those men were killed in Normandy. Rudy Korvas survived WW2 and passed away in 2002. c/o Korvas

Webmaster's note: If the forbidden tales concept intrigues you, you'll like my 6th book, 'Avenging Eagles-Forbidden Tales of the 101st Airborne in WW2'-see the Books page for ordering information.-MB

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