Sanford Sandy Schwaber
France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria
Battery "E" Glider Unit, 81st AA-AT Battalion, 101st
On Sept. 2, 1943 Sanford received an invitation
from Uncle Sam I want you. He and his wife had been
married for three years, they had to put their household furnishings
into storage. His wife Bernice went to live with her parents. Sanford
was sent to Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, NC for basic army training
on half-track drawn artillery 105 howitzers.
Six months later he was shipped to England to
join the 101st Airborne Division of paratroopers and glidermen preparing
to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.
Sanford was placed in the 81st AA-AT Battalion,
glider unit under the command of Col.
X. B. Cox Jr. The gliders were called U.S.A. C-G4 Waco. They
were towed by a U.S.A. C-47 plane, which when airborne pulled the
glider on a nylon rope that was attached from the tail of the plane
to the nose of the glider. Gliders had no motors and when released
from the plane they floated and glided on air currents with a wind
and a prayer that enemy shells (flak) did not hit and that the glider
did not crash on landing. Gliders were built by coffin manufacturers.
Glidermen referred to gliders as flying coffins.
A glidermans version of the construction of a glider was that
it was composed of plywood, two by four lumber, canvas, glue, wood-putty,
bubble-gum, recycled nails, toilet-tissue to plug the holes in the
canvas and spit which held it all together.
Sanford served in the European theater of operations
from May 1944 to Dec. 1945. Discharged with honorable service with
the rank of corporal, he had served as a member of the famous 101st
Airborne Division, known as the fighting Screaming Eagles.
Their missions were to drop behind the German lines to capture bridges,
vital highways, crossroads and important railroad lines to aid the
advancing allied armies across Europe.
Sanford saw extensive action in the following
France - Normandy
Holland - Southern part of the Netherlands
Belgium - Bastogne - Battle of the Bulge
Central Europe - Germany
Austria - Bavaria
He was the recipient of the U.S.A. Bronze Arrowhead
Award as a member of the first wave of parachutist and glidermen
to be dropped from the skies behind the German lines on Sept. 1944
in the invasion of Holland to liberate the Southern part of the
Netherlands from German occupation. He received the Purple Heart
Medal for injuries received in a glider crash, shot down by enemy
He is the recipient of:
- The Glider Badge with Combat Star.
- Four Combat Stars
- Belgium Croix de Guerre for Normandy
- Belgium Fourragere for defense of Bastogne, Belgium
- Militaire Willems Orde - The Orange Lanyard from Holland
- World War II Victory Award Medal
- Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation
- New York State Conspicuous Service Medal
- Certificate of Appreciation from the Netherlands
- U.S. House of Representatives Normandy Medal of Jubilee of Liberty
He is a Life Member and charter of the New York-New
Jersey Chapter of the 101st Airborne Division Association. He has
a life membership in the 101st Airborne Division Association.
Shoulderpatch of the 101st Airborne
The Eagle's Nest in June 1945
Sanford in front of his Waco glider plane
Relaxing in Hilter's lawn chair at Berchtesgaden, Bavarian Alps
in June 1945.
This is a C-G4 Waco glider like the one in Sanford's story.