This website honors 1/501 medics of the past and present!

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Geronimo's Medicine Men - World War II

Historical information on this page came from the book, "With Geronimo Across Europe" by former Geronimo medic, R. Edward O'brien
and from Tom Timmermans Eindhoven, The Netherlands (see below)

Tom Timmermans website is

Plaque created by webmaster and donated to 1/501 BAS at Fort Richardson, AK (names, dates and locations found in Obrien's book).
Richard O'Brien, 501 medic and author at the Eerde monument in 2002. The Monument to the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment is located new the Eerde windmill.
Tom Timmermans (see below) in 2003 with the author of With Geronimo across Europe, Richard O'Brien (medic in the 501st) in the court yard of the convent in Veghel which was a 501st Regimental Aid station in 1944.
Tom Timmermans in WWII period uniform with his girlfriend Jolanda at a USO type show. Tom Timmermans is a WWII reenactor from the Netherlands (Europe) and a member of the Association of Dutch Airborne Friends and an associate member of the 101 Abn. Div. Association in 2003. Tom Timmermans contributed significantly to the WWII photos and information on these pages. Tom Timmermans is being recommended for recognition as an honorary Geronimo upon return of the 1/501 from Iraq due to his contributions to the history of Geronimo's Medicine Men!


Captain William J Waldmann
Surgeon. 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
Died May 1988

The trucks rolled on with lights ablaze,
throughout the winter night.
The words from high to noble tribe,
conduct a valiant fight.
The place was full of moving troops,
all going to the rear.
The troopers shouted from their trucks,
Geronimo is here!
Surrounding hills were sown with pines,
all laced with snow and ice.
Death traps-for some a final place,
This fight would not be nice.
The chapel stood with lines so proud,
its destiny foretold.
For this would be the sacred ground,
of miracles untold.
Twas three long days, both day and night,
chilled winds kept passing through.
The broken stained glass windows high,
above the caduceus crew.
The God of War growled once again,
the chapel stood its ground.
The sanctuary for wounded men,
with many a painful sound.
He led the group with cross of red,
throughout the bitter seige.
A man devoted to his craft, ~~ a man who was their liege.
His eyes were tired, his shoulders stooped,
his steps were getting slow.
With mind alert and fingers firm, he was constantly on the go.
The word went out to do their best,
the troopers with the cross.
Give plasma here and bandage there,
prevent the ghastly loss.
The wounded lay upon the floor,
on litters and on stone.
The medics tried their best to keep
The creeping chill from bone.
From giving orders to his men,
for food and cheer and rest.
But not one thought of ones own self,
but for all the very best.
The light was dim, but best there was,
holy candles from the church.
They glowed and gleamed and crackled strong,
carrying healing through the lurch.
Upon the alter standing high,
a cross for all to see.
And on its beams with arms out stretched,
the son of God to you and me.
I'm sure that God was in that room,
I'm sure that he had pain.
To see creation of his soul,
struck down with no explain.
But one stood out above the rest,
a legend in his own.
A warrior who once took the oath,
to help his fellow man.
A man to all within the tribe,
'Doc' Waldmann was that man.

Author: R Edward O’brien


101st Airborne Division awarded Presidential Unit Citation - France, 1945.
Airborne Monument, Veghel. Plaque reads, "Airborne Veghel, Liberated on 17 september 1944 by the 501st parachute infantry, elements of the 326th airborne engineers and other divisional units . . ."
Geronimo medic Bob Carentanas then (black and white inset) and now.
About The Author

(See photo above of author on leave in the United States January 1946. Note 82nd Airborne Division patch with 501st PIR regimental Crests)

Richard E. O'Brien was born in 1925 in Saint Louis, Missouri of Irish parents and grew up in the mid-state community of Centralia. On 6 July 1943 he was drafted into the United States Army and after finishing medical basic training at Camp Barkeley and and a surgical technician course at O'Rellly General Hospital, he was assigned as a student to the Parachute School at Fort Benning. On 8 August 1944 he joined the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in England and was assigned to the medical detachment. During Operation MARKET-GARDEN in Holland he was initially the medic of the Mortar Platoon, Hq. Co., 3d. Bn. and then the medic of 1st Platoon G Co. During the Battle of Bastogne he was the medical detachment's supply sergeant. When the war ended in Europe and the regiment was sent home he was assigned to the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment and when the division was deactivated he joined the 82nd Airborne Division.

During twenty-seven years in the Army he attended the Officer's Candidate School, the Basic and Advanced Armor Officer Courses, Fort Knox and the Command and General Staff College. Command assignments included armor and cavalry units in the United States, Panama, Korea and Europe. Staff assignments included Staff and Faculty the Armor School, Advisor to the Ohio National Guard, Staff Officer, HQUSAREUR, Operations Officer, HQ V Corps and Chief of Doctrine Division, Armor Agency. CDC. Upon retiring from the Army on 31 May 1970 as a lieutenant coloneIand taking up residency in Louisville, Kentucky, he went to work for HumRRO(Hmnan Resources Research Organization) where as a research scientist he developed training and testing programs for armor and cavalry units.

After retiring from HumRRO in January 1987, he has been an active participant in local civic affairs and social programs and in the mid-seventies was a member of the Chief of Staff of the Army Retiree Council and President of the Kentucky Association of Retired Military. Today he and his wife enjoy golf, travel and being doting grandparents of five wonderful grandchildren.

Limited copies of this book are available through the 101st Airborne Division Association - visit for more information.