A. Schultz, 'Longest Day' paratrooper

Posted: October 19, 2005

Arthur B. "Dutch" Schultz, 82, an 82d Airborne Division paratrooper portrayed in the 1962 epic about D-Day, The Longest Day, and whose battle experiences were documented in several major World War II history books, died of pulmonary disease Sunday at home in Helendale, Calif.

The former Frankford and Bucks County resident was raised in Detroit, where he graduated in 1940 from St. Philip Neri High School. After two years in New Mexico with the Civilian Conservation Corps, Mr. Schultz itched for action: He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and volunteered to be a paratrooper.

He earned the Bronze Star in 1944 for heroics in the Normandy campaign and two Purple Hearts for combat in France and the Battle of the Bulge.

After being discharged in 1945, Mr. Schultz married Madeline Russo. The couple raised two daughters in Frankford; the marriage ended in divorce in 1957.

Historian Cornelius Ryan interviewed Mr. Schultz for the book The Longest Day, which was published in 1959. Subsequently, Mr. Schultz's battle experiences were in two more of Ryan's books, A Bridge Too Far and The Last Battle; three books by historian Stephen E. Ambrose: Citizen Soldiers, The Victors and D-Day; and works by other authors.

Mr. Schultz did research for Ambrose and director Steven Spielberg for the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan.

He reenlisted in the Army in 1947 and was a Counterintelligence Corps agent in Austria until being discharged in 1950. He returned to Frankford and worked as a detective in a Center City department store for two years. He rejoined the Army in 1952 and worked in counterintelligence at the Frankford Arsenal until being discharged for a third time in 1957.

Mr. Schultz began battling alcoholism shortly after World War II and was treated during the late 1950s at the former St. Luke's Children's Medical Center in North Philadelphia.

He and a partner founded a Center City private-detective agency in 1960. Mr. Schultz left the business in 1962 to work for a year as an investigator for a special prosecutor in a grand-jury probe of City Hall.

Again plagued by drinking problems, Mr. Schultz met and married Ardelle Poletti in 1963, who was a fellow patient in an alcohol rehabilitation center in Wawa, Pa. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1964 and was sober for the rest of his life, said his daughter, Carol Vento.

During the rocky marriage to his second wife, Mr. Schultz moved to San Diego, where he had family. He earned a bachelor's degree from California Western University in 1967. He returned to the Philadelphia area in 1967 and earned a master's degree in psychology from Temple University in 1970.

Mr. Schultz was director of the former Bucks County-based rehabilitation program Today Inc. from 1970 to 1973. His wife committed suicide in 1974.

Mr. Schultz moved back to California in 1973 and married Gail Eastburn two years later.

In addition to his wife, daughter and first wife, Mr. Schultz is survived by a granddaughter; two sisters; and a brother. Another daughter, Rosemary, died in 1973.

Services are pending.

Contact staff writer Gayle Ronan Sims at 215-854-4185 or gsims@phillynews.com.

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