Men of D-Day


    
 Troop Carrier
Michael N. Ingrisano
Robert E. Callahan
Benjamin F. Kendig
John R. Devitt
Arthur W. Hooper
Ward Smith
Julian A. Rice
Charles E. Skidmore
Sherfey T. Randolph
Louis R. Emerson Jr.
Leonard L. Baer
Robert D. Dopita
Harvey Cohen
Zane H. Graves
John J. Prince
Henry C. Hobbs
John C. Hanscom
Charles S. Cartwright
 
 82nd Airborne
Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr.
Marie-T Lavieille
Denise Lecourtois
Howard Huebner
Malcolm D. Brannen
Thomas W. Porcella
Ray T. Burchell
Robert C. Moss
Richard R. Hill
Edward W. Shimko
 
 101st Airborne
John Nasea, Jr
David 'Buck' Rogers
Marie madeleine Poisson
Roger Lecheminant
Dale Q. Gregory
George E. Willey
Raymond Geddes
 
 Utah Beach
Joseph S. Jones
Jim McKee
Eugene D. Shales
Milton Staley
 
 Omaha Beach
Melvin B. Farrell
James R. Argo
Carl E. Bombardier
Robert M. Leach
Joseph Alexander
James Branch
John Hooper
Anthony Leone
George A. Davison
James H. Jordan
Albert J. Berard
Jewel M. Vidito
H. Smith Shumway
Louis Occelli
John H. Kellers
Harley A. Reynolds
John C. Raaen
Wesley Ross
Richard J. Ford
William C. Smith
Ralph E. Gallant
James W. Gabaree
James W. Tucker
Robert Watson
Robert R. Chapman
Robert H. Searl
Leslie Dobinson
William H. Johnson
 
 Gold Beach
George F. Weightman
Norman W. Cohen
Walter Uden
 
 Juno Beach
Leonard Smith
 
 Sword Beach
Brian Guy
 
 6th Airborne
Roger Charbonneau
Frederick Glover
Jacques Courcy
Arlette Lechevalier
Charles S. Pearson
 
 U.S.A.A.F
Harvey Jacobs
William O. Gifford
 
Civils
Philippe Bauduin
Albert Lefevre
René Etrillard
Suzanne Lesueur
 

 

Robert D. Dopita
2nd Lieutenant - Pilot - 81st Troop Carrier Squadron - 436th Troop Carrier Group

England
June 6, 1944

Dear Folks,

I'm sure that the cold weather you had last month has moved over here awhile. We're trying to get some of this coke to burn but not much luck. Think I’ll go hunt up some cow chips.
Got a letter from you and Dorothy this week, one from Mama and Texas and that was all. Must have the mail situation SNAFU.
Got a box of candy bars from Dorothy. Had to fight like mad to hang onto them. They got away with one-half pound bar.
I haven’t heard from Pete for quite awhile. Don’t know what he’s up to. Probably busy too.
Tonight I opened up my bottle of Bourbon. Kinda had to settle my nerves. Didn’t see much use in saving it much longer. I’ll probably be pretty drunk before morning. Wish Pete and Ferd were here to help me out. I don’t know though. Ferd drank that quart of Scotch I bought him all by himself so there probably wouldn’t be enough to go around.
How’s the wheat coming along? You haven’t said anything about it all spring. I wouldn’t mind doing some harvesting to get back in condition. Getting in foul shape from lack of exercise. That Drake ought to get in pretty good shape with all the work there is to do.
Let me know when you get the last money order I sent. If you can, send me an account of how much I have by now. Tought to save quite a bit in the next month or so if we are busy and can’t go anywhere. Things will probably be pretty tough by the time I get back so I’d best save up all I can.
Has the Covert come over as yet? I’ll look him up if he does. Might be pretty hard to find anyone now.

I suppose you got lifted out of your seats last night. I was laughing all the way over about how much confusion would go on back home when the news of the invasion reached the folks back home. I was scared stiff most of the time. I got to thinking about the reception they gave Pop1 when he landed. Bands, parades, wine, etc.

Our reception committee didn’t have much of a sense of humor. All they did was shoot at us. They were very poor shots. At least five thousand bullets came within one to three feet of my seat and they never touched me. I know damn well I could have shot any one down at that altitude with a .30 machine gun.
They had four 50 cal machine guns and battery of 20 mm cannons on me for a hell of a long time. Seemed like a couple of years. They were leading me by 2 feet too far. They followed me clear out of sight still shooting 2 feet in front of my nose. I could smell the smoke and fire of the tracers. They must have fired 3 thousand rounds cause I know damn well I saw a thousand tracers and every fifth bullet is a tracer. That was the beginning of the reception. It scared the living daylights out of me. From then on it was hell. There were thousands of lights all over the sky – tracer bullets. Every time I’d dodge one battery, another would cut loose. I never expected to live through it.
Once they got the range and shot the hell out of the element leader. I wasn’t 10 feet off his wing. I figured our time was up for sure. We wouldn’t of gotten into all this if it hadn’t been that our element got off course and hit the hottest spot in the entire area. Some of the boys never even saw a bullet.
I prayed a lot before, during, and after the invasion. I’m a firm believer now. Can’t tell me it was all luck. Someone was looking out for us. They don’t miss you with 25 thousand bullets every day.

Hell folks, it was a great show. I wouldn’t of missed it for the world. Everyone was so damn good to us. Every man on the place was out to see us off. They were out standing there like they were looking at a funeral procession. I asked them “what the hell are you looking so sad about?” I’ve never seen higher morale and spirit amongst any troops. We were really in there to win. The boys that stayed at home were in sad spirits. We sure had a good time when we got back. Telling everyone about the trip. Those paddle feet ground officers were all ears.

The worst part of it was to sit there and take it. I wouldn’t of stood it only I had to. Smith2 was blinded by search lights the first thing and I had to do it. There was no other way out. God it was hell to sit there and take it and not be able to do a damn thing. One gun to shoot back with would of made all the difference in the world.
Well, we made it and I’m as thankful as any man can be. Went through the biggest show in history and didn’t get a scratch.
I may be awful busy for awhile but nothing to worry about. You might let the rest of the folks know I’m OK but too busy to write. Thought I’d tell you all I could cause I doubt if I’ll get drunk enough again to tell you about it. There’s no doubt about it that I’ll make it now. Take it easy.

Love,
Bob

Robert D. Dopita

Notes :
- 1 : Pop was his father AL Dopita who landed at Cherbourg and served in France during WWI.
- 2 : 1st Lt. Duane Smith was the pilot and 2nd Lt. Robert D. Dopita was the co-pilot.

This letter was written by Robert Dopita to his family just back from mission Albany, Thanks to Helen Dopita Mayo for sending it to be published on the website.

Note from Webmaster :
On D-Day, Robert D. Dopita flew co-pilot in C-47 #42-100558 - "Buzz Buggy" - 81st TCS - 436th TCG
aircrew :
- Pilot : 1st Lt. Duane Smith
- Co-pilot : 2nd Lt. Robert D. Dopita
- Navigator : 2nd Lt. Eugene R. Davis Jr.
- Radio Operator : S/Sgt. Harold Friedland
- Crew Chief : T/Sgt. Adolph Bogotch