USA Dot Com is a blog covering politics and government from a conservative Christian perspective. Verne Strickland is a 50-year veteran of investigative journalism. This blog offers a take-no-prisoners style with a modicum of biting satire. Verne and his wife of 55 years, Durrene, live in Wilmington, NC.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II -- Soldiers' Stories of the epic battle to free Europe
On June 6, 1944, Allied Forces invaded Normandy
and turned the tide of World War II in Europe. More
than 100,000 soldiers swept ashore and nearly 10,000 died that
first day. By June 22, the Allies had broken out of
Normandy heading for Berlin. These stories are the first-hand accounts of the men and
women who participated in this "mighty endeavor."
Airgood flew C-47s in the ETO. During the D-Day he dropped
paratroopers over Normandy.
1st Lt. James P. Alford
Before invading Adolf Hitler's "Fortress Europe" in 1944,
the U.S. Army reorganized its armored formations to better deal with
their German counterparts. No less than 14 American armored divisions
would slash their way into the German Reich by the end of World War II.
One such unit, the 746th Tank Battalion, First Lieutenant
James Posey Alford of Gonzales, Texas, led a platoon of M4 Sherman tanks
with the 746th.
Hubert Mark Alvater After
dropping out of the University of Michigan after Pearl Harbor,
Altvater entered the U.S. Army Air Force. Though his wartime
flying was cut short by a burst of Nazi flak, Altvater recounts
his time as a bomber pilot in the ETO. More...
participated in the Normandy Invasion on Omaha Beach as part of
Boat Crew #8. This is his story. More...
As a captain in the Durham Light Infantry of the
British Army, Arnold gives an interesting account of the great
invasion from the point of view of our “cousins across the
pond.” He tells his tale with characteristic British aplomb as he
and his “batman”, Private Blair, land at Juno Beach and push
into France. More...
of a Navy beach battalion, Bacon's landing craft hit a mine on
its way to shore. More...
Edwin J. Barrios A
worker in the Higgins shipyards in New Orleans, Barrios gives a
view of the war effort from the home front. More...
A veteran of North Africa and Sicily, he drove a tank ashore on
the D-Day invasion. He was on the beach head for only a few
days before being wounded by a German anti-tank round. Baxter
later returned to his unit and drove on through Germany. More...
A boatswain on a Navy LCT Bearden witnessed
the invasion from the high-tide mark. More...
After enlisting in the Army in 1940, Beetle tells of
going AWOL to landing on the beaches at Normandy. More...
This story is the stuff of legend. Thought to have been
killed in the airborne landings of D-Day, Beryle relates his
captures and his escapes before he finally linked with the oncoming
Russian army. More...
Lieutenant Bonadio saw action in North Africa and served on the Liaison Staff to the
British Admiralty during the landings at Normandy. More...
Felix Branham Felix Branham went ashore in the second wave at Omaha Beach as a demolition man for the
29th Division. In this story he tells his experiences on
the beach, losing his comrades and surviving. More...
Thomas M. Brown Thomas M. Brown was a
private first class with the Company A, 115th Infantry of the 29th
Division. After his initial training in Maryland, Brown landed at
Omaha Beach as a machine gunner on D-Day plus two. More...
Brown-Stigler They met
briefly over the skies of Germany, one the pilot of a crippled
B-17, the other at the stick of a Luftwaffe Me-109. Read how
a show of chivalry towards a helpless foe became the
foundation of a friendship forty years later. More...
John G. Burkhalter
Former Miami minister Burkhalter landed on Omaha beach
as chaplain for the "Fighting First." He penned this letter to his wife
Mabel shortly after the invasion.
"When my part of the Division landed, there were impressions made on my
mind that will never leave it ... I was looking toward land and saw a large shell fall right on a
landing craft full of men ..." More...
Capell From the
Battle of the Hurtgen Forest up through the Battle of the Bulge,
Capell gives the view from the foxhole on life as an infantryman.
slated to be sent to the Pacific Theater, SGT Carmichael served in
the 347th Infantry Regiment in Patton's Third Army from the Battle
of the Bulge and the waning days of 1944. More...
not in the D-Day invasion, Chumley entered the ETO as a
replacement rifleman in the 90th Division, 357th Infantry Regiment, Co. E
just in time for the Battle of the Bulge. More...
Cook In an
interview, Cook tells of the nearly insurmountable obstacles he
faced as a prisoner of the Japanese after the fall of the
Philippines. A survivor of the "Bataan Death
March", Cook's account is a tale of the horrors POWs faced in
the hands of the armies of the Rising Sun.
Andrew J. Cooper From the beaches of Normandy, through the Battle of the Bulge
and straight on to the fall of Berlin, Cooper sees the fight
through the eyes of the infantryman. More...
the intelligence staff officer for a field artillery division
Crocker found himself on D-Day as the liason to the British
J. "Irish" Degnan Part of a revolutionary Signal unit that hit the beaches with
the waves of "grunts." Degnan shows how the
"command and control" of the Allied invasion helped to
ensure its success. More...
Bill Dunfee On June 6, 1944, Dunfee's battalion was one of the
few that hit the right drop zone. As they jumped into Ste. Mère-Eglise,
the commander carried an American flag because, as Dunfee explained, 'he
realized the historic significance of what we were going to do.'More...
Edward A. Dunton
Commissioned in 1942 as an ensign in the Naval
Reserve, Dunton specialized in code and ciphers on active duty.
From the U-boat infested waters of the North Atlantic to
the beaches of Normandy, Dunton tells of the buildup prior to
the great invasion fleet leaving England. More...
Joseph A. Dragotto Joseph A. Dragotto fought
with his unit from the beaches of Normandy on D-Day through Belgium and
Germany. He fought in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest and the
Elsenborn Ridge during the Battle of the Bulge.More...
Malcolm Edwards A
bombardier on the
B-26 Nicks' Chick in the 344th bomb
group, 495th squadron, the following are his recollections of D-Day.
crewmember on an LCT during theNormandy
invasion, Esclavon gives the view from the high tide mark. More...
Dr. Bernard S. Feinberg
As a captain in the 116th Infantry, Dr. Feinberg had a unique
view of the D-Day invasion as the regimental dental
surgeon. He gives a gripping account of landing at Omaha
beach and attending to the wounded. More...
director by trade, Flagg served during the invasion of Normandy as
a Pharmacist's Mate on an LST. From German POWs to grounded
paratroopers, Flagg saw D-Day from a seldom seen point of view. More...
Roy Aaron Ford
As a Seabee, Roy Aaron Ford helped
get soldiers and equipment onto the beaches of
Normandy. Ford tells the story of the Rhino barges made especially for
beaches of Normandy and provides readers a personal
glimpse into the food, lifestyles and experience of the
Ed Fredericks, 76, was part of a glider crew in the 439th Troop Carrier Group of the 101st Airborne
Division told his story to Military.com while visiting Normandy May 2000.
Richard A. Freed,
not drafted into the Army, Freed played his part in the war as a
member of the Merchant Marine. He survived wolf packs,
convoys and met his brother before D-Day on the USS Ancon.
In the 16th Armored Division Fritz saw action from the campaign on
Normandy through to VE Day. More...
Richard Gates From
the ivy covered halls of Tulane University to the cockpit of an
A-20, Richard gates flew over 60 bombing missions in the ETO.
Gates literally had a birds-eye view of the war while he with
the 409th Bomb Group.More...
Sam G. Gibbons
Gibbons saw action on D-Day as part of the 501st
Parachute Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division.
His story takes a close personal look at a soldier's
experiences in this 10 part history. "
"My parachute snapped open with a
loud crack -- reflecting the added weight of combat equipment..."
Glaze As a
young lieutenant in the 4th Infantry Division, Glaze relates two
of his very unique memories of the war. More...
Dr. Samuel N.
LST skipper during the D-Day invasion, he was scheduled to hit
Utah Beach in the first wave. More...
communications sergeant in the 834th Engineer Aviation Battalion,
Hertz was assigned to a follow-up force to repair German airstrips
in Normandy. These strips allowed the 9th Air Force to deepen its
attacks into German territory. More...
Hicks First a
Technical Sergeant and later a Platoon Sergeant, Hicks was a
Pathfinder with the 82nd Airborne. In addition to seeing
action at Normandy, he took part in the invasions of North
Africa and Italy. This is D-Day seen by someone who was
first in the fray. More...
From a small town in rural North Carolina to the
invasion beaches of Normandy, Jacks tells of his transition from
being in the peace-time Army through the bloody battlefields of
the ETO. More...
a young, green replacement to a unit with the invasion of Sicily
already under its belt, Kellman tells how his unit prepared for
the Normandy landings. Wounded on the beach, Kellman stayed alive
under withering German as his unit drove inland. More...
Kornfeld As a
radio operator for a combat engineer regiment, Kornfeld landed
at Omaha Beach in the early hours of the invasion and was on the
beach for the duration.
An engineer in the British Army, Mais gives an
interesting account of the delivery of the "Mulberry"
artificial piers to supply the follow-on forces on the Normandy
A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr.
McConahey joined the Army Medical Corps soon after Pearl Harbor.
McConahey landed in Normandy on D+2 and passed through
the ruins of St. Mere Eglise on the road to Cherbourg.
The heavy fighting in the hedgerow country kept his
battalion hospital operating at full capacity and Dr. McConahey
witnessed the horrors of battle firsthand.More...
James B. Nannini Assigned to the 222nd Infantry
Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division as a rifleman,
James Nannini missed the initial landing at Utah Beach.
He fought during the harrowing first weeks of the
invasion in the hedgerow country of France against a tenacious
German army. Wounded
outside of Cherbourg, Nannini recuperated in England and
returned to the continent in time to witness the Battle of the
O'Neill served as a quartermaster aboard the U.S. LCT 6-544 during the invasion of France at Normandy, Omaha
Beachhead, June 6 1944. More...
Oatman As a
member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment from the
beginning, Oatman jumped into history. But as Oatman says,
"It didn't work out like it was planned." From the
French Underground to Fred Astaire's sister Oatman's account is
truly one of a kind.
a Coast Guard coxswain Orr was in charge a Higgins boat landing
troops on the blood soaked shores of France. More...
From the suburbs of Philadelphia, Paulino served
as an aerial gunner in the 344th Bomb Group.
He recounts his trip across the Atlantic on the Queen
Elizabeth and living in southeast England before the big push.
He flew over 65 missions after D-Day bombing German
industrial centers until the surrender in Europe. More...
George Thomas Poe
coxswain of an LCVP landing craft during Operation Overlord,
George Thomas Poe had one of the most unique views, as well as
one of the most unique experiences, of the D-Day landings. More...
"Dad" Rarey In 1942, George Rarey, a young
cartoonist and commercial artist, was drafted into the Army Air
Corps. He flew a P-47 before he drove a car.
He was killed in action a few weeks after D-Day, but during
his service he kept a cartoon journal of the daily life of the
This is a selection of his work. More...
Arnold Rodriguez Following
his draft notice from Uncle Sam, Arnold Rodriguez left the
shipyards of New Orleans to become a member of the glider
infantry. He landed with the 502nd PIR on D-Day and rode a
glider into Holland during Operation Market-Garden. More...
Charles Roland Here,
Capt. Roland tells of his experiences beating
back the Axis powers. From basic training through his part in the Nuremburg trials,
Roland shares every exploit with candor and pride.
Col. Robert P. Tabb III
graduate of West Point in 1938, Col. Tabb recounts the trials of
a junior officer helping to build a combat engineer unit.
From the disaster at Slapton Sands to the D-Day landing, Col.
Tabb gives his account as an officer in the 237th
Combat Engineer Battalion.More...
Col. B. B. Talley The commander of I. J. "Irish" Degnan's unit, Col.
Talley's account of the landing is riveting in its detail and
lends more insight as to the "big picture" of D-Day and
how that was conveyed from the top brass to the men on the beach. More...
August Leo Thomas August Leo Thomas was a coxswain on LCT 633 during
Operation Overlord. His is a first hand account of the
landings which took place on the beaches in Normandy.More...
William D. Townsley
William D. Townsley landed at Omaha beach where
he braved the murderous hail of German fire.
Wounded on the first day, he stuck it out on Omaha and
pushed inland with the rest of his unit.More...
Trott A veteran
pilot of the RAF, Trott flew Typhoons against radar and V-1 rocket
sites in France. He flew missions on D-Day in support of the
Canadian landings and special operations. He was later shot down
during the Battle of Normandy. More...
A Marine during the Great Depression, Visco joined the Army in 1942 and landed on D-Day with
the 457th AAA. He served from Omaha beach through the Battle of
the Bulge. More...
Dr. Simon V. Ward, Jr.
early in the war while serving as ship's surgeon on a United Fruit
freighter, Ward threw his hat into the ring and volunteered for the
Navy. Dr. Ward served during the D-Day invasion on an LCT
treating wounded soldiers and sailors.
Weinshank Born and raised in Germany, Fritz Weinshank fought for
his adopted country with no regrets and paints a compelling
picture of a young radioman on the front lines.More...
Ambrose White Originally
turned away from the Navy, White joined the field artillery, where
he worked on the innovative 'proximity fuse'. He arrived in
Germany in time for V-E Day and found himself as a member of the
occupation forces. More...
Partners in Military.com's Living Histories The Eisenhower Center for American
Studies is a non-profit research institute dedicated to the
study and preservation of American history and leadership from a
variety of perspectives, including foreign policy, social
history, literature and popular culture.