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R E L A T E D
S I T E S

Musée Airborne (Museum Ste-Mere-Englise)

Daughters of D-Day

505th Regimental Combat Team during WW II

The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Memories


A Word About Our Doctors & Medics

Colonel Daniel B McIlvoy Jr - Regimental Surgeon Colonel Dan McIlvoy, our Regimental Surgeon, (pictured right) provided me with a truly fascinating account of doctors and medics in the 505 during WW II. He credits the 505 medical organization with contributing to a lower casualty rate, including faster and more efficient methods of casualty evacuation. This through applying lessons learned during successive campaigns.

The document also credits the bravery and self-sacrifice of medics and doctors while under enemy observation and fire.

McIlvoy writes, "...War, a favorite subject of writers... but mostly about Generals and other officers and the fighting enlisted men; had little about the medic aid men and their contribution. Our medics had a warm, respected place with the men they served. They were affectionately called "Doc," watched over, fought for in the pubs and protected as much as they could be in combat...In our regiment when the combat soldiers were awarded Combat Infantry Badges or pay, it was noted that the medics did not receive these badges or pay, since they were not gun-carrying combattants. The enlisted men of the regiment volunteered to give money out of their own pockets for a so-called combat medic pay, which the medics turned down."

"...one of the bravest officers I've ever known or heard of, was Dr. Pete Suer, a Jewish dentist who could speak some German. He would plaster a jeep with Red Cross flags and carry German wounded to the front lines and swap them for our American boys who were also wounded..."

McIlvoy wrote that later Suer, losing both legs due to a mortar shell, was eventually evacuated to Walter Reed, He died while undergoing surgery to enable him to use artifical limbs.

After reading McIlvoy's account of the bravery and sacrifices of other medics and doctors, I remembered witnessing just such a display of courage and total disregard for safety by McIlvoy, Pfc Murray Goldman and Pfc Marvin L Crosby (Medical Department) during the Sicilian Campaign at Biazza Ridge. The following letter written May, 1945, by Goldman is the first time I have read a complete account of it.

Goldman writes, "July 11, 1943, I was told to move up to the vicinity of Biazza Ridge with part of the Battalion Aid personnel to an area where part of our battalion was engaged."

"Major McIlvoy and several others had gone ahead to establish the aid station. When I arrived at the place, I found the entire area under intense mortar, small arms and high velocity artillery fire. However, the aid station was functioning and about twenty to thirty wounded were collected and being treated in a defiladed area in an olive orchard."

"Major McIlvoy was present and had procurred an Italian truck, which was marked with the Geneva Cross."

"About this time, a runner appeared and excitedly reported that there were many wounded up ahead, and exposed to enemy fire. The Major never hesitated; he jumped into the driver's seat of the vehicle and ask for two volunteers to accompany him, as he knew that the mission was extremely hazardous. Crosby and myself were the first aboard and we were off."

"We drove into the fire-swept area searching the fields on both sides of the road for our wounded. Making a turn in the road we came face to face with a German Mark VI tank. The Major drove the truck off the road and into a ditch and attempted to turn it around. We were immediately machine-gunned by fire from the tank and several other positions on our flank. The concrete road marker that I was lying behind received a direct hit and the concussion stunned me. I looked up and saw the Major and cied out that I had been hit. The Major started toward me and was himself hit in the back by a mortar fragment. Nevertheless, he helped me to my feet and we both started back. We had proceeded about twenty yards when the truck we had used was blown to bits by a direct hit from cannon fire from the tank."

"The Major helped me back to the aid station and continued throughout the day and far into the night to supervise the collection, treatment and evacuation of every man wounded in that entire area. When this job was done, he also supervised and started an evacuation in the city of Vittoria. We had no transportation, our medical supplies were only what we brought in by air and carried for the most part on our person; yet no wounded man failed to be evacuated to the rear within a short time after being wounded."

"Major McIlvoy's sincerity, courage and devotion to this task was the inspiration with which we accomplished a task that even now seems almost impossible."

Airborne! - Stay healthy - be careful out there!

Bob Fielder, President
505th PRCT Association
May, 1998



A Brother in Arms

To Whom It May Concern:

I might have some information concerning a 1/Lt Sylvester T. Alfano whom I believe served under LTC Vandervoort during WW II. Mr. Alfano is my wife's grandfather and I have had the distinct honor of meeting him. I believe Mr. Alfano served with the 82nd Airborne Division, 505th Parachute Regiment as a "C" or "D" Company Commander.

It is my understanding that 1/Lt Alfano (pictured left) actively participated in the following campaigns: Sicily, Italy, Africa, and Normandy (D-Day)! Over the years, Cy has never really wanted to talk about his experiences. However, I had the surprising honor of hearing first hand accounts of his WW II experiences. As an Air Force C-130 Navigator, I have always been interested in the airdrops on the night of the D-Day invasion. Cy's account of that night and of the short period after the invasion are quite fascinating! Cy's accounts include: violent anti-aircraft fire, mass confusion, misidentified drop zones, stuck door on his C-47 plane prior to drop resulting in his subsequent drop location into a cow pasture, main chute failure with a bright white reserve chute appearing as Cy dropped to the ground under enemy fire, shortage of supplies & ammo (drops went to Germans), etc.... Mr. Alfano vividly remembers LTC Vandervoort & recalls when Gen. Gavin was a Captain!

Mr. Alfano even recanted an amazing story about being sent to a location to stop an anticipated German counteroffensive with only around 5 men w/less than a full round each,a mortar w/about 30 rounds, and a captured German machine gun w/little ammo. According to Mr. Alfano, he was suppose to dig in and wait for an expected German counteroffensive with what he had. If one occurred, he was to stall and sent a runner to LTC Vandervoort. During that night, Cy heard noises about 100-150 yards out. He systematically fired off a few rounds from the mortar and waited for daylight. At daybreak, a German soldier appeared waving a white flag. Cy kept his men down and did not want the Germans to see how few men he had or that he was having to use a captured German machine gun. Cy went out to meet the soldier & the soldier informed Cy that the German commander wanted to discuss terms for the evacuation of the wounded. At this point, Cy bluffed the soldier and told the soldier that if his commander didn't surrender within 3 minutes they would "get more of what they just got." The soldier disappeared into the brush as Cy waited. Shortly thereafter, the soldier and a tall German officer appeared. The officer walked right up to Cy and started to reach for his pistol. Cy recalls that he was scared and "almost popped him." But Cy realized that the officer was surrendering. As the officer waved for the other soldiers to come out from the brush, Cy recalled that he was amazed that there were well over 100 soldiers surrendering. Cy had his men get their weapons and had them escorted down the hill to LTC Vandervoort. Thus, the amazing story of six men with little ammo capturing over 100 prisoners! Cy was eventually wounded in battle later that month and was sent home with a Purple Heart. Mr. Alfano told more stories such as his friendship with a "Lt. Ray" or "Lt. Wray" who was subsequently killed in action.

Mr. Alfano is an honest, honorable, and proud man. He has no idea that I am contacting you. I am contacting you because I respect the sacrifices and bravery exhibited by his generation. I feel the stories need to be saved for future generations to appreciate and study. I hope the story adds to the depth of your web page. I would appreciate it if you would e-mail me at rhrplr@worldnet.att.net if you have any information regarding the current commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and his official mailing address.

Sincerely,

CPT Robert H. Robertson





books
R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
Blair, Jr, Clay Ridgeway's Paratroopers: The American Airborne in WW II. New York: Doubleday, 1985 588 p. ISBN: 0385278888
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
Breuer, William B Drop Zone Sicily: Allied Airborne Strike,July 1943. Novato, CA: Presidio, c1983. 212 p. ISBN: 089 141 1968
D'Este, Carlo  Decision in Normandy William S Konnecky Assc(P), 560 p. ISBN: 1568522606
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  The Way We Were: "Doc" Daniel B. McIlvoy: Regimental Surgeon, 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  August 20, 2004, D-Day Pub, 167 p. ISBN: 2960017668
De Trez, Michel  Colonel Bob Piper: G Company 505 PIR (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  March, 2003, D-Day Pub, 48 p. ISBN: 2960017641
De Trez, Michel  At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
Falerios, Kenton J.  Give Me Something I Can't Do: The History of the 82nd Military Police Company, WW 1 to Iraq Nov 2007, Authorhouse, 192 p ISBN: 1434337197
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McCann, John Passing Through: The 82nd Airborne Division in Northern Ireland 1943-1944 Gardner Books, (May, 2005), 128 p. ISBN: 1904242413
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Murphy, Robert M  No Better Place To Die Critical Hit,Inc, March 1,2000. 128 p. ISBN: 1929307004
Nigl, Dr Alfred J & Charles A Nigl  Silent Wings - Savage Death Santa Ana, CA: Graphic Publishing, Dec 3,2007. 288 p. ISBN: 1882824318
Nordyke , Phil All American All the Way: Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II Zenith Press, April 2005. 880 pgs ISBN: 0760322015
Ospital, John  We Wore Jump Boots and Baggy Pants Willow House, 1977. 118 p. ISBN: 0912450150
Ruggero, Ed  Combat Jump: The Young Men who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July, 1943  HarperCollins, 10/21/2003. 388 p. ISBN: 0060088753
Ruggero, Ed  The First Men In: US Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day  HarperCollins, 6/13/2006. 368 p. ISBN: 0060731281
Ryan, Cornelius The Longest Day  Touchstone Books (P), 350 p. ISBN: 0671890913
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Tucker, William H.  Parachute Soldier: From the Diary of William H. Tucker, 1942-1945  ISBN:1884540015
Tucker, William H.  "Rendez-vous at Rochelinval" Battle of the Bulge  International Airborne Books,Harwichport, MA, ISBN:0-9647683-2-1
Turnbull, Peter I Maintain The Right: The 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion in WW II Authorhouse, Oct 31,2005. 204 p. ISBN: 1420871447
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
Wurst, Spencer & Gayle Descending From the Clouds: A Memoir of Combat in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment: 82nd Airborne Division Casemate (Oct 2004), 256 p. ISBN: 1932033319
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302




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