D-Day

By: Nicholas Halteman and Jennifer Merriman

Billie Holiday - "i´ll be seeing you"

Omaha Beach

Sgt. Ray Lambert was a medic who was apart of the first wave. He distinctly remembers his voyage to the shore aboard one of the landing craft. He says that about a thousand yards out to sea, he began hearing machine gun fire against the front of the craft, which doubled as a ramp used by the soldiers to disembark. When they finally reached the waters just offshore, the ramp was lowered and the men in the craft lept into the water and swam to shore. Many men, weighed down by their equipment, drowned in the water, which was over their heads. Many others were picked off by German mounted machine guns. Ray also recalls the craft next to his exploding, setting many of the men inside on fire. One person he knew, Meyers, was shot in the head after saying, “If there’s a hell, this has got to be it.” Ray was wounded later that day, but recovered. He also, many years later, encountered Meyers, who also miraculously survived.

Utah Beach

Roger Airgood was a pilot during the war that participated in the D-day assault. He flew plane full of paratroopers over France. Because it was necessary to remain undetected, his squadron was instructed to turn off all of their lights except for their formation lights, which were lights on top of the wings designed to allow only other pilots to see where the plane was in order to maintain formation. His squadron was instructed to keep these at half. Because they only had an on and an off setting, they all turned their lights off. As it was past eleven at night and completely dark, they had to guess their location. They were supposed to drop the paratroopers past a certain town, which had a large church. After seeing one such large church, they all dropped. During the drop, Roger saw the plane in front of him mess up the drop forcing him to slow which gave the paratroopers an unfavorable drop. Later, Roger discovered that there were seven towns with tall churches, so he didn’t know weather he dropped his paratroopers in the right location or not.

101st Airborne: Fred Bahlau

Prior to the day, I had been training for almost two years. We parachuted into France that day, the day Eisenhower had made up his mind. I call that day D-day, which happened to be June 6th, 1944. We had been training in England for quite some time and even did a jumping for Churchill. Anyway, it was nighttime on June 6th, when we had heard the command and we had left the airfield. Around 6,000 of us were going to drop in and about 26 of us were going to be piloting. The new pilots ought to have been scared, for they had never seen battle before. I was the jump-master and I was in charge of six switches that controlled six packages that were to be picked up. They could have held a number of things. Anyway, when I jumped out of the plane I had looked as I saw burning houses and all kinds of fires on the ground. It did not take long to reach the ground, and when I hit the ground I grabbed my Tommy gun. I then took out my knife that was strapped into a pocket on my leg and cut myself free from my parachute and used my Cracker Jack clicker to see if I landed near anyone. Fortunately I had landed near someone and was safe for the time being. Guns were being fired in all directions and everybody was spread about. So, this guy I was next to, we went towards a river and see a lot of men nearby on the other side of this river. I thought they were some of our troops and jumped into the river to check it out and realized they were german troops. We decided not to shoot at them since we had no where to hide and snuck away from these men.Our objective was to rendezvous a little further upstream and meet at a bridge. Me and the men I had picked up along made it to the bridge. I was pretty lucky being able to make it to my target without getting hurt.

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