A Paratrooper’s Faith and a Legacy of Love

 

a paratroopers faith

Green Light

On June 5th, 1944, high above a war raging in Europe, a paratrooper’s faith helped calm a 20-year-old soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division. The vibration of the military transport plane might have put George to sleep if not for the peril he was about to face. He was about to jump under cover of darkness into occupied France with fellow paratroopers from 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He closed his eyes and recalled a quote he memorized long ago:

Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call our courage and strength. . .

George took a deep breath and turned his thoughts to what he loved most: God and his family. He often wrote letters to his younger brothers encouraging them to act rightly and stay on the right track. George was carrying two weapons into the battle that night, one was a weapon of war, the other, of the spirit.

a paratroopers faithThe Little Book

Tucked somewhere on his body was a small blue booklet. It was complied by his mother, Anne Archer Hogshead Tullidge, so that he might “receive an inspiration and help from. . .thoughts of great minds and souls of the past and present.” He called it the “little book.” She later titled it A Paratrooper’s Faith. It was Anne’s hope that “. . .in the lonely, anxious and trying experiences he was passing through, a few moments reading of these might give him hope and strength.”²

Author and fellow Army veteran Bill Cain describes the unit’s mission:

“Their D-Day objective was to secure the crossing over the Mederet River.  During the jump, the unit missed the drop zone and was scattered for miles due to heavy German anti-aircraft fire and low clouds.”¹

After escaping enemy fire and landing miles off target, he attempted to remain calm.Priority number one: find out where I am.  No–first, prayer:

I can do all things through Christ which stregtheneth me. . .

I can. . .

Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. . .

Be not afraid.  I am not afraid.

He thought about what he wrote to his younger brothers, Tommy and Arch: a good belief in Christianity . . . gives a fellow something to grasp when the going gets tough, and it does at times.  This was one of those times.

Unusual Courage

The next day, near Fiere, France, George’s unit came under heavy attack while attempting to hold a bridge outside of St. Mere Eglise. George had to make a decision. He closed his eyes again, and remembered:

It makes a difference to all eternity whether we do right or wrong today. . .

a paratroopers faith 4

Without hesitation, George took control of a light machine gun and held off the enemy attack, eventually leading to the safe withdrawal of his unit. This paratrooper carried with him a secret weapon: a mother’s faith.

The little book his mother made gave him peace, hope, and a strength only possible with the promise of peace and justice in the presence of almighty God. George found that peace on June 8, 1944 after succumbing to a massive hip wound sustained two days earlier while defending the bridge. I wonder what George must have thought as he was transported to a hospital in Britain.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. . .

A Family of Heroes

George B. Tullidge III was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroism, but he wasn’t the only Tullidge to be recognized.

On July 24, 1989, Anne Archer was awarded the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service at the Pentagon by the Secretary of The Army, John O. Marsh, Jr.,  with the Citation:

a paratroopers faith

“Mrs. Archer Tullidge is officially commended for her distinguished civilian service to the United States Army, to our veterans, and to the nation over the last 50 years. During World War II, on her own initiative and at her own personal expense, Mrs. Tullidge voluntarily duplicated and mailed to over 300,000 soldiers the booklet entitled, ‘A Paratrooper’s Faith.’ Her personal commitment and deep concern were appreciated by many returning soldiers who commented on the strength and courage they received from the booklet’s message. Mrs. Tullidge’s strong support and patriotism did not end with World War II as she continues to dedicate her life to volunteer services to The Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. This unselfish devotion to our American soldiers, strong personal commitment, and selfless service to the United States Army stands as a worthy example for all Americans to emulate.”³

A Paratrooper’s Faith has been inspiring service members since 1944, and it continues to inspire today. If you like to see what other inspiring words are included in the legendary booklet, click here.

Are you encouraged?  Send this to a service member. Please click here to share with your followers on Twitter.

¹ Bill Cain, “A Paratrooper’s Faith: My Connection to A Soldier’s (and Family’s) Sacrifice,” Bill Cain Online, July, 2008, http://billcainonline.com/?p=2937

² Charles Culbertson, “Staunton man’s death led to book to inspire thousands of soldiers,” Newsleader.com, October 29, 2011, http://www.newsleader.com/article/20111029/LIFESTYLE22/110290302/Staunton-man-s-death-led-book-inspire-thousands-soldiers

³ Dr. William Josephson, Anne Archer Tullidge Obituary, revised 31 January, 2010, http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~josepbe/ParatroopersFaith/AnneArcherTullidgeObituary.htm

To quote a friend, “everyone has a story” . . . .Share something big or small from your story or your family’s story. 

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, USA and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to A Paratrooper’s Faith and a Legacy of Love

  1. ksbeth says:

    i thank him for his service, for which he paid he ultimate price, i am in awe of him. hugs to your family. beautiful story, anne.

  2. gpcox says:

    An outstanding story. The 82nd A/B only has a stunning reputation because of the men like your brother George. I can not say enough about your mother’s cause and devotion to the veterans, Anne. ( I hate it when I become speechless when the words are needed most!)

    • annetbell says:

      Oh you are lovely. I hope you checked out the online copy by clicking here on the next to the last paragraph. But there are a few of the original copies available . It would give me much joy to send you one in thanks for keeping all these heroes’ memories alive!

      If you are interested, please send me your name and address to my email! I think you are George, which is lovely!

      Blessings,
      Anne

      anne,t.bell@gmail.com

  3. gpcox says:

    Jason – thank you for this story. I used to follow you, but somehow lost the connection. I will re-click the Follow and hopefully it will stick this time.

    • annetbell says:

      That is cool that you had followed Jason. He seems remarkable . Also thanks for following my little blog which is far less inspiring! Smiles. . . .

      • gpcox says:

        It seems inspiring to me or I wouldn’t be checking you out all the time!! ( Check your notifications.)

      • annetbell says:

        Thanks so much. I have the envelope addressed! Hopefully, you will have it early next week !

      • gpcox says:

        Aren’t you a sweetheart!! Thank you very much! ❤

      • annetbell says:

        My project now is with the museum in St Mere Eglise. There is an unmarked copy of the picture in the post on display in a cabinet. I have sent a copy of the picture and George’s information and will send a copy of the booklet if they are interested. I haven’t heard back and expect to have to resend and resend. I think it is all run by volunteers. Have you been there? Normandy and the area is holy, sacred ground !

      • gpcox says:

        No, I have not been there – afraid my budget doesn’t include such things, but I certainly agree! I would like to put your brother’s story in where it would meet chronologically, but we’ll see ….!!

      • annetbell says:

        Whatever you feel comfortable doing. . . by all means. I know you will treat it with care. Nothing happens without a purpose, you know !

      • annetbell says:

        I had asked you before about Pearl Harbor so I doubted you had been to France. George is buried in Cambridge. I don’t know why they never brought him home. Have visited the grave a couple of times. Very powerful those American centimeters on foreign lands.

  4. gpcox says:

    Reblogged this on pacificparatrooper and commented:
    A BREAK IN THE ROUTINE TO HONOR A PARATROOPER WHO FOUGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE AND HIS MOTHER WHO FOUGHT AT HOME. (NEAR THE BOTTOM – PLEASE FIND WHERE TO “CLICK HERE” TO VIEW THE CONTENTS OF THE BOOK)

  5. Mrs. P says:

    Reblogged this on Destination Unknown and commented:
    This one was just too good not to share…a mother’s love going more than the extra mile. To get the whole impact of her selfless act, click on the link just after the italics section. Note, there are two click here links. You want the first one for sure.

  6. Mrs. P says:

    Thanks for sharing this one…a truly incredible story about a mother’s love helping so many.

    • annetbell says:

      Thanks for stopping by. Indeed it is an incredible story. So glad you saw it and many thanks for the reblog!

      • Mrs. P says:

        Thanks for sharing and providing the links. There is still interest in finding copies of this booklet from what I can see when I searched for more information. Quite a few have mentioned it but only you have provided a link to see it. 😀

      • annetbell says:

        My Mama died in 1996 and the family is no longer printing the booklets. The complete test is on the site so that people can access the inspiring words that way. Please pass that along to anyone who is interested.

        Anne

      • Mrs. P says:

        I’ve already sent it to several social media connections. This is one of those pieces of history which should never become obsolete.Her compilation brought light to many who might have struggled otherwise. I’d say that people in common every day life could use some of this advise as well.

      • annetbell says:

        Many thanks. Anne

  7. Reblogged this on Old Things R New and commented:
    I hope you find this as inspiring as I do.

  8. Thank you for sharing the honor and faith of this man and his family. I am grateful for the spirit of them all.

    • annetbell says:

      In their memories and for the rest of our family, I thank you for your gracious words. Please pass this along to anyone who might be blessed by it.

      Anne Bowler Tullidge Bell, sister and daughter

  9. aerjacobs says:

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. a gray says:

    Mrs. Tullidge’s love and support for her son and, ultimately, many other servicemen is beyond comparison. That he had her love and encouragement through all is beyond words . . .

    • annetbell says:

      Thank you for your kind words which I accept with deep appreciation. All through her life, she cherished the letters that she received from people who had been blessed with her “Little Book.” She died in 1995.

      I am her daughter who was born after my brother George died. Anne Bowler Tullidge Bell

      • a gray says:

        It is so extraordinary, or so it seems to me, that your mother prepared her “Little Book” for her son. When she first put it together, did she intend it for a wider circulation or just for him?

      • annetbell says:

        Great question. No, as far as I know she had handwritten one for him to have with him to read when he had a chance. He had it with him when he was shot and it was sent back to her after he died. She thought later that many some other soldiers would be encouraged by the story and the verses and and used the insurance money to print the booklets. She had chosen to have $200 a month instead of the $10,000 one time payment. Then she lived until she was 94! Good choice !

        She particularly wanted them to go to soldiers, but she would send them out at no charge to anyone who wrote and asked her. Sec of the Army John Marsh named a street at Fort Brag “Tullidge Way” for George and Mama. That was a lovely tribute. The family purchased a glass display case and my brother Tom donated the letter he had kept that was printed in the booklet. Sorry. . . didn’t mean to talk so much ! Smiles. . . .

      • a gray says:

        No, you didn’t talk too much. Yours is an incredible story and one that should be shared as widely as possible.

  11. gpcox says:

    Please check back at some point, maybe tomorrow and check to see the comments being left on my site for your brother’s and your mother’s stories.

  12. What a legacy. I have two military children–one Army and one Navy–and am forwarding this to them. Thank you.

  13. Gypsy Bev says:

    Your “lilttle book” was a fantastic idea for peace and inspiration! Bless you!

    • annetbell says:

      Well, I will say thank you from my Mama. She made one for my brother George , whom I never knew. He had it with him when he was injured and later she thought it might be inspirational for other soldiers. It became her life’s work, and she loved hearing from her soldiers. Thanks for taking time to comment !Anne

  14. The Emu says:

    A very noble and patriotic family
    A Mother, a true inspiration behind the soldier.
    Emu

  15. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Reblogged this on Lest We Forget and commented:
    A moving tribute

  16. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I have seen your request for help.
    I can help you writing a letter in French.
    You can write me.
    My email should be in my comment when you approve it.

    Pierre

    • annetbell says:

      Oh how kind of you Pierre! I am ashamed to say that I “took” French for several years but never “studied French”. I know ” Je ne sais pas. ” Pretty pathetic.

      I am thrilled you offered to translate a letter for me! I will have to write it on email and then send it to you. I don’t have office on this laptop, nor do I have a working printer.
      If you would send me your address, I will mail you one of the copies I have of “A Paratrooper’s Faith” for you to have with my thanks. You might want to translate the last page or letter from General Gavin.
      I have a friend who will be at the museum on 9/23- 9/24 and she will have a copy of your your letter. I have sent her a copy of the booklet which I hope they will post next to George’s picture which is currently in the case but with no name , address etc.
      I am the last one standing in my family and feel some responsibility to get this accomplished, if possible.

      What I am hopping for is that when we produce a copy of the unmarked picture showing they are the same, that they will mark George’s picture and place the booklet next to him. Hundreds of thousands of them have been passed out through the years and chances are people going through would have seen or been given one.

      If you could copy GP Cox’s post A Legacy of Love to send along with the letter and translate any parts you think are important. There are links at the end that Jason Ladd used for research. I think those are important as they back the story. Now, if you google Paratrooper’s Faith, the whole text is on line.

      My address is 212 Third St. Park Place 1E
      Troy, N Y 12180 cell 518.423.9980 .
      my blog is http://www.TalesAlongTheWay.com (Mostly about Incredible India!
      I will send your booklet when I get your address! Bless you ! Your new friend, Anne Bell

  17. Pingback: 75th National Airborne Day | Pacific Paratrooper

  18. Don Ostertag says:

    I love the fact that GP’s post reminded me of your great post and your brother’s service and your mother’s book. I have the book on line and it is a great solace. It is such an honor for me to have served in the 82, in the shadows of men like your brother.

  19. GP Cox says:

    I have found this photo on-line showing Tracy Haylock and her son Cpl. Martin Windmill in front of Marshall Aerospace where Tracy is PA to one of the Managing Directors. The photo is from Feb. 2012

  20. Margaret Wilkie says:

    Hi, Anne— that is a beautifully a written story about Cousin George. My sister and I revere his memory and have told many people his story, including posts on Facebook. Our mother was Marian Elsbeth Timberlake Matthees. My sister is Linda Bell Matthees Peebles and I am Margaret (namesake of Margaret Young Timberlake) Lynne Matthees Wilkie. We dearly loved Cousin Archer. She was the strongest southern mama I have ever known. I thank you for this great blog!

    • annetbell says:

      Margaret, how lovely to hear from you. If you type in Paratrooper’s Faith in your address bar, URL, there are other articles that you might enjoy. It is amazing how many people all over the world have been touched by Mama and George’s story. My nephew, Tom’s son heard from someone last week.

      Blessings to you , Margaret

  21. Pingback: A Mother’s faith – The Little Book | partneringwitheagles

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