I first heard about the 551st through a friend who was a veteran of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He had written a book called Rendevous at Rochelinval and mentioned the 551st several times. I was intrigued as he wrote of how the Battalion was decimated at Rochelinval. A few months later I was on a Band of Brothers tour in Europe and got friendly with a couple from Virginia. I mentioned the 551st in passing and the husband looked at me and told me his grandfather was in the 551st. It turns out his grandfather was Ed Hartman, 551st PIB S-2. I don't know who was more surprised, me at who his father was, or him that I was interested in the GOYA's.
The more I looked, the less I found. There is not much written on the 551st. Records are scarce as most were destroyed in January of 1945. Most information comes from Dan Morgan and other vets who kept the memory of the GOYA's alive and fought to get them the recognition that had been so long in coming and so richly deserved.
I was invited to the 551st reunion in 2005 and was overwhelmed at their hospitality. I was also overwhelmed at their modesty and with their graciousness. There was no bitternesss at the fate of their unit, or for the fact that basically the GOYA's have been relegated to the back pages of Airborne history. I came home from the reunion, bought a book on web development and started this page. I'd like to say I designed this page, but I can't back that up. My web development skills are slightly more developed than a ten year olds. Hazel, at Prompt Communications, a great friend and believer in what I tried to do, took my information and turned it into this website. I am eternally grateful.
Any errors found are my fault as all material was mine. Which leads me to say that I'm not a writer and certainly not a computer guy, so I apologize for any links that don't work, or any missepllings. I'm just a firefighter and all corrections and criticisms are received gratefully. If you are so inclined, I also gratefully receive compliments. Thank you for visiting and helping to keep these men and their sacrifices remembered.
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