Attached please find a photo of my uncle, Lloyd R. Johansen, 2nd Bn, F Co., 517th PIR and one of his paratrooper friends whom I can't identify. Lloyd is the shorter man on the left in the photo. I suspect it was taken stateside before they deployed overseas but that's only a guess. Perhaps someone in your organization can identify the other trooper in the photo and maybe even where it was taken.
Lloyd was KIA on Jan. 26th, 1945 in St. Vith according to a telegram I have that was sent from my grandfather to my mother notifying her of his death, and from various written accounts and reports of the Battle of the Bulge available on the internet.
I have been able to piece together a fairly good idea of the troop movements, actions, and areas his company was involved in leading up to the time of his death but it would be nice to have more details and it would be even better to find there was still someone around from the 517th who served with him or remembered him, or if he was mentioned in one of their "stories". But I doubt if that's very likely this many years after the war.
Too bad the internet in its present form wasn't around 30 or 40 years ago when many of the heroes of the 517th were still with us and the likelihood of finding someone who knew him was much higher. It would have been great to correspond with them.
I remember seeing another photo of Lloyd and 3 other men amongst the ton of old letters and stuff I inherited from my mother after she passed away in 1999. They were in combat gear standing on a ridge somewhere in Italy or Southern France and they are all heavily bearded in the photo, so my guess is that it was taken sometime during or soon after they were on combat expedition. I will rummage around and see if I can locate it. If so, I will scan it and send it.
My mother's youngest sister is still alive and I believe she may have more photos, documents or other mementos from Lloyd that he sent her from Europe or else that she inherited from my grandfather or one of the other brothers and sisters when they passed away. I will attempt to contact her and find out what she has and forward them if I can.
You have a great web site and I'm gratified to find that someone is keeping alive the memories and the deeds of these great men of the 517th who fought so hard and suffered so much to save the world from evil. They are deserving of much more honor and praise than we are capable of heaping upon them. Indeed, they are the "Greatest Generation".
William A. Lee
Attached is a copy of the telegraph sent to my mother from my grandfather (Vigo Johansen) notifying her of the death of my uncle, Pvt. Lloyd R. Johansen, 2nd Bn, Co. F., 517th PIR. When I reflected upon how many telegrams just like this went out to families and friends during the war, and the broken hearts and countless tears that were shed for our fallen heroes, I thought perhaps it might lend a stark yet fitting and poignant addition to your website. I submit it to you respectfully and in hopes it won't tarnish or detract from any memories of your members or offend anyone.
Received from William Lee
Nephew of Pvt. Lloyd R. Johansen