Wwii Apo 548 Cover 517th Parachute Infantry Lt General Seitz July 1944 Censored For Sale
This cover is in rough shape. but it includes the letter from a legendary Airborne General named Richard J. Seitz . At the time he wrote the letter he was commanding a Bn of the 517th Para Inf . Lieutenant General Richard “Dick” Joe Seitz (born February
18, 1918) during a 35-year career as an Army officer and Paratrooper commanded
the 2nd Battalion, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, the
82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps.
Seitz and his brother, Brigadier General John A. “Andy”
Seitz, both graduated from Leavenworth High School in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Seitz graduated from high school in 1937 and was cadet commander of his
school's ROTC unit. He also received the American Legion Cup as the outstanding
cadet his senior year. In Leavenworth his father owned a wholesale milk and ice
cream business and also served as the town's mayor. Attending Kansas State
College, Seitz majored in Agriculture and Dairy Husbandry. Having completed his
senior-level ROTC work in two years, in 1939 he was commissioned as a second
lieutenant in the infantry. While at Kansas State, Seitz was a member of the
Alpha Omega Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha. Years later, Seitz earned a bachelor's
degree from the University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska at Omaha).
His military education included the Infantry School, Air
Corps Technical School Rigger Course, the Command and General Staff College,
the Armed Forces Staff College, Army Language School (Portuguese), the Army War
College, and the Sanz Language School—Persian.
Seitz’s first and second wives preceded him in death. He met
his first wife, the former Betty Merrill, while a student at Kansas State. They
became reacquainted in France during World War II. Merrill was working as a Red
Cross volunteer and Seitz had recently led his battalion during the Battle of
Bulge. They were married in Joigny, France on June 23, 1945. The General and
his second wife, Virginia “Ginny” L. Seitz, were married on January 12, 1980.
Seitz and his first wife are the parents of one son and three daughters: Major
Rick Seitz, Judge Patricia Seitz, Dr. Catherine Seitz, and Dr. Victoria Seitz.
While taking a year away from Kansas State to earn money for
tuition, Seitz was called to duty in 1940 with the 38th Infantry in Texas. With
the Army rapidly growing as the threat of war loomed, he quickly found himself
in command of company, a job normally that went to a captain. While attending
an infantry course at Ft. Benning, he saw the original Parachute Test Platoon
commanded by Bill Ryder and decided to become a Paratrooper. After overcoming
the objections of his battalion commander, Seitz took airborne training under
the command of the legendary Bill Lee. From 1950 to 1953, Seitz commanded the
Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Seitz's first assignment after earning his jump wings was a
member of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Battalion under the command of
then-Major Robert Sink. His company commander was then-Captain Jim Gavin.
Years later, Seitz credited Gavin with helping to instill in him the importance
of a calm demeanor in communicating with soldiers. As a young captain, the
commander of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment Colonel Louis A. Walsh, Jr.
saw tremendous potential in Seitz and placed him command of the 2nd Battalion
in 1943. His selection for command made him one the youngest infantry
battalion commanders during World War II at three days shy of his 25th
birthday. The 517th consisted of three battalions, the 1st Battalion,
commanded by William J. Boyle, Seitz’s 2nd Battalion and the 3rd Battalion
commanded by LTC Melvin Zais plus the 460th Parachute Artillery Battalion
commanded by LTC Raymond L. Cato.
During the Battle of Bulge, the 28 year-old Seitz and his
battalion of paratroopers would prove instrumental. Seitz headed “Task Force
Seitz” built around his battalion and a company of 7th Armored tanks, equipped
with some half-tracks, a detachment of engineers, and some self-propelled
anti-tank guns. In twin attacks on two days, one after dark and the other in
late evening, Seitz sent the Germans reeling back to the village of Hunnange,
which was the gateway to St. Vith. In both attacks, paratroopers had to cross
long stretches of open ground. With all guns blazing and with a massive
artillery support fire, they locked up the crossroads village and waited in
broad daylight for the huge armored assault that came behind them headed for
the next stop, St. Vith.
The battered battalion, which lost more than 400 of the
original 600 who entered Belgium only four weeks earlier, won acclaim for its
grueling feat in the freezing evenings of a Belgian January. Seitz and his men
were nominated for a Presidential Unit Citation, but in the confused business
of the Bulge, the award was never made. Seitz received the Silver Star for his
Seitz remained in the Army following the World War II. From
1947 to 1949 he served in Japan with the 11th Airborne Division. From January,
1949, he served as the G-3 of the 11th Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Ky.
In 1950, he graduated from the Command and General Staff College, at Ft.
Leavenworth, Ks. He was promoted to colonel in 1954 while serving in Brazil as
part of the U.S. Military Assistance Group (Brazil). In the spring of 1957, he
received orders to report to Carlisle Barracks, Pa. to attend the Army War
College. In June, 1958, upon completion of the War College, he was assigned to
the 82nd Airborne Division to command the 503rd Parachute Battle Group at Ft.
Bragg, N.C. In June 1959, he became the G-3 for the XVIII Airborne Corps. For a
year beginning in June 1960, he was Chief, Field Training Team U.S. Military
Assistance Group, Iran. Following six-months at the University of Omaha,
beginning in February 1962 he served for a year as Executive Officer, Office of
the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Department of the Army.
Seitz was promoted to brigadier general in July 1963 and
appointed Chief, Combined Armed Division and then Deputy Director of the Office
of Personnel. He served in this role until July 1965 when he was named
Assistant Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Vietnam (August 1965-December
1965) and then served as Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Vietnam (January
1966-March 1966) and Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Vietnam (April 1966-April
In March 1967, Seitz was promoted to major general and a
month later assumed command of the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg. The
General spent about a year and a half as commanding general but it was an
eventful time in the history of the Airborne and the United States. In July
1967, a brigade from the Division was called to help quell rioting in Detroit.
In February 1968, following the Tet Offensive, with less than 36 hours notice
the Division deployed its 3rd brigade (the famed 505th Parachute Infantry
Regiment) to Vietnam. In late 1968, two brigades from the Division were
called out to put down rioting in Washington, DC after the assassination of
Rev. Martin Luther King with General Seitz personally commanding the
effort. One source credits Seitz for making the Division's distinctive
maroon beret an accepted portion of its uniform but this is contradicted by
In October 1968, General Seitz became Chairman, U.S.
Delegation of Joint Brazil-US Military Commission. He held this position until
July 1970 when he became Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. In May
1973, he was promoted to Lt. General. His final assignment returned him to the
Airborne as the commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Ft. Bragg.
He retired from active duty in 1975.
The Association of the United States Army awarded the
General the Creighton Abrams Award in 2003. The award was conferred to
recognize “Seitz for his efforts to create a greater public awareness of the
Army and to garner support for today's soldiers from citizens in all walks of
life.” In 2006, the General’s fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, awarded him its
prestigious “Order of the West Range” award. During a celebration of the
anniversary of Operation Dragon in September 2011, the French government
conferred on him the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France's highest
decoration.In 2012, a new elementary school, Seitz Elementary School, was
named in the General's honor. The school's mascot is the Dragon in honor of the
battalion Seitz commanded during World War II.
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Wwii Apo 548 Cover 517th Parachute Infantry Lt General Seitz July 1944 Censored: $62