101st Airborne Division

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101st Airborne WW II
Medal of Honor Recipients

  Lt Col Robert G Cole
Pfc Joe E. Mann





























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A World War II veteran finally gets a Silver Star, decades after dying in the Battle of the Bulge

   By Paul Vercammen      CNN, Sat November 9, 2019


(CNN) - Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot of the 101st Airborne Division rushed his machine gunners to move in front of a surprise German breakthrough in January 1945, according to the US Army.

SSgt Edmund J SternotSternot's isolated men held their icy ground in the Belgian forest during the Battle of the Bulge, despite the fierce German attack that included tank rounds.

Military documents show 60 German gunners lay dead in front of Sternot's machine gun station.

Sternot received a Silver Star for his heroism, but the award never got pinned to his chest and no family member every received the five-pointed medal.

On Sunday, with pomp and circumstance, one of Sternot's last living relatives will receive the Silver Star at a Veterans Day Ceremony in Santa Barbara at the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

"Sternot's men beat back the Germans and he led his unit with calm and valor under fire," said Major Vonnie Wright of the 101st Airborne Division.

Wright said Sternot died just days after his gallantry, during yet another German counterattack, when he was hit by a tank round.

The medal will be given to 80-year-old Delores Sternot, the hero's first cousin, of Goleta, California.

"I'm stunned," Delores said. "He is truly an American hero, along with so many other World War heroes killed. We are so proud of him. But why did it take so long?"

Somehow after Sternot was killed and buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium, the Silver Star never got officially awarded.

Family members received his Purple Heart but no Silver Star.

The plan to hand the Silver Star over to Delores Sternot might never have been if not for an encounter in a chapel in Foy, Belgium, in 2001.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Bill Linn says he was attending mass after visiting the Bastogne battlefield when a woman handed over something her woodcutter father had come upon in the nearby forest.

"She told me her father found a small prayer book," Linn said. "Inside was the name and home address of Edmund J. Sternot."

Linn eventually found and contacted members of the Sternot family in Wisconsin.

The collector said family members recalled all the Sternot boys received first communion prayer books, including Eddie seen holding one in a picture.

Linn's search for Sternot's relatives eventually led to Delores, Eddie Sternot's self-described "little" cousin.

She vividly remembers a visit when she was five years old living on the family farm in Vesper, Wisconsin.

"Eddie came in from furlough through the front door and I was excited," Delores said. "He picked me up and threw me in the air and caught me."

But those memory-making times with Eddie ended in the dying embers of World War II.

The Army reports as the Battle of the Bulge wound down, Sgt. Sternot was killed when an advancing German tank round hit him.

Sternot had stepped into the open and pulled the pin, ready to throw a hand grenade.

"So we heard there were two explosions hitting Eddie, a double whammy," said Delores. "So at least he didn't suffer, he was killed instantly."

The death in battle earned Sternot the Purple Heart.

Delores wanted the Purple Heart kept in a safe place, so she gave it to Linn and his wife Courtney to keep at their Heritage Arsenal Collection in Colorado.

Delores says she'll hand over the Silver Star to the Linns sometime after Sunday's ceremony, one she'll attend with four friends.

Officials connected to the ceremony say Sternot's cousin will also be officially given a Bronze Star in his name because he fought at Normandy, Holland and Bastogne.

She said another honor should go to a Belgian man -- Michel Lorquet -- and family for "adopting Eddie" and to this day, putting flowers on Plot H Row 13 Grave 48 in Hombourg.

But conflicting emotion still stirs up in Delores, when she thinks about that gravesite.

"He was robbed of the life filled with a lot potential and all of us relatives got robbed of spending time with him," Delores said.

"But I'm happy he finally got that Silver Star."

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Delores Sternot's first name.


Published:Sat November 09, 2019 10:22 AM ET   CNN - (article)



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
Ambrose, Stephen E Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster, (June 2001) 336 p. ISBN: 0-743-21638-5
Ambrose, Stephen E Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945. Simon & Schuster, (Nov 1997) 528 p. ISBN: 0-684-81525-7
Badsey, Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Bando, Mark A  Avenging Eagles: Forbidden tales of the 101st Airborne in World War 2. Bando Publishing, (2006) 183 p. ISBN: 0977911705
Bando, Mark A  101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p. ISBN: 0760308551
Bando, Mark A  Vanguard of the Crusade: The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p. ISBN: 0971765006
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
Bowen, Robert Fighting With the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne. Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal, (Sept 2001) 256 p. ISBN: 1853674656
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, (1989) 621 p.
ISBN: 0-312-03350-8

Breuer, William B Unexplained Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
Burgett, Donald R Currahee!. Presidio Press, (Sept 1999) 256 p. ISBN: 0-891-41681-1
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  American Warriors: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers Prior to Normandy  July, 1998, D-Day Pub, 212 p. ISBN: 2960017609
De Trez, Michel  Cpl Forrest Guth: E Company 506 PIR 101st Airborne Division (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  March, 2002, D-Day Pub, 56 p. ISBN: 296001765X
De Trez, Michel  Orange is the Color of the Day: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Holland April, 2004, D-Day Pub, 506 p. ISBN: 2960017633
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
Devlin, Gerard S  Paratrooper! St Martin's Press, (P) c1976 ISBN: 0312596529
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Killblane, Richard  Mc Niece, Jake The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagles Nest: The 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 288 pp May 1, 2003 ISBN: 1932033122
Koskimaki, George E D-Day With The Screaming Eagles Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 356 pp September 11, 2002 ISBN: 1932033025
Koskimaki, George E Hell's Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in Holland, September-November 1944 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 453 pp March 1, 2003 ISBN: 193203305X
Koskimaki, George E The Battered Bastards of Bastogne: A Chronicle of the Defense of Bastogne, December 19, 1944 - January 17, 1945 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 484 pp December 1, 2002 ISBN: 1932033068
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
McLaughlin, Jerome J D-Day+60 years Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, April 20,2004. 300 p. ISBN: 1418402699
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Webster, David Kenyon Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D- Day and the Fall of the Third Reich 352p. ISBN: 0385336497




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