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
 

 

Anthony Leone
Omaha Beach - Seaman 1/c - US Coast Guard - LST 27

My landing ship, the US Coast Guard LST 27, departed Falmouth, England as part of Follow-Up Force B and on the 5th of June 1944, we formed Convoy B-3, composed entirely of LSTs.
We had the men of the 175th AT company along with other support personnel. Also, on board we had a large US Navy medical team with two doctors, assigned to our ship for the invasion. Our public address system carried the voice of General Eisenhower throughout the landing ship. "Standby for a message from the commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force."
"Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force...........He ended his speech with "And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."
Meanwhile, overhead the endless roar of aircraft engines drowned out any chances of a normal conversation. The C-47 troop transports carrying the paratroopers blinked their landing lights in a "Vee for Victory!" We're part of Task Force 126, Follow-Up Force "B" under the command of Commodore Campbell Edgar.

It is now the 7th of June 1944 and we heard that Rome, Italy has just been declared an open city. Shells from the battlewagons Texas and Arkansas are going over our heads now and sound like speeding locomotives. Deadly 88mm shells land in the water as we near the beach area. I can't see the beachhead as there is a long trail of white smoke covering Omaha Beach.

Wave after wave of C-47s and C-53s towing gliders have been heading inland most of the morning. B-17s and B-24s of the 8th Air Force have been dropping bombs near the beachheads. We can see what appears to be cord wood spread out the whole length of the beach but a second look with stronger binoculars reveal they are the bodies of dead soldiers bobbing with the tide.
Like angry bees, a swarm of P-38s, P-51 Mustangs, RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes buzz low over our heads and disappear into the horizon in the direction of Vierville. I could see gray uniforms up on the bluffs near Pointe du Hoc then figures wearing our uniforms attacking in their direction. It looked like a see-saw battle for a while then there were no more gray figures moving.
Our LST cannot get in to land yet as there are still plenty of Teller mines and enemy machine gun fire is spraying the beach area. More splashed in the water near us as the German 88s seek the range of ships anchored nearby. A tiny tugboat is hit and a geyser of storm spurts skyward. After a fruitless attempt to beach earlier, we finally came in on the 8th amid sporadic sniper fire and 88mm artillery.

The first truck off our ramp and hit mines, setting another nearby vehicles afire. Soon, the sounds of horrible screams filled the air as men of the 175th struggled to free themselves from the roaring flames that had already consumed the bodies of their comrades. One of our officers pulled one of the helpless soldiers from the debris scattered beach area and dragged him onto the tank deck, laying him down where the medics began to feverishly tear the charred clothing from his body. A sergeant, his jacket ablaze lunged past the burning trucks and dove into a large pool of water, sending up a tiny cloud of steam. Our medics quickly got him aboard and began treatment. A large plume of black smoke rose from the burning trucks and could be seen far out into the English Channel. We shut the bow doors so that we no longer could witness the suffering of those men of the 175th AT who remained trapped in the conflagration. Their screams could still be heard the entire length of Omaha Beach. The tide slowly and mercifuly covered the blackened skeletons.

We unloaded the rest of the 175th several hours later and watched them winding their way toward the nearest draw leading from the beach. They were to lose more men to the German S.S. within a short while when a number of them were taken prisoner. Those men among them who wear a dog tag identifying them as Jewish were shot on the spot between the hedgerows, so abundant in the bocage country.

On the 19th of June, we were en route to land at Utah Beach when LST 523, carrying men of the 300th Engineers, hit a mine or was torpedoed and hundred of engineers became bits of flesh floating in the anchorage waters.

D-Day was-indeed-the Longest Day-and it would not really end for a lot of us until the war was over. I received a medical discharge in 1946, then was subjected to insulin shock treatment. Today, my leg is still numb as a result of a mine explosion on Omaha Beach well after D-Day. The survivors of LST 523 receive a monthly newsletter today and we kind of talk over old memories via e-mail or by mail.

The screams of those men trapped in the burning trucks on Omaha Beach will continue to haunt me the rest of my life.
I am the biggest argument against war there is and I appear on TV, write war genre books and give talks in the local schools stressing the futility of war.

Peace.

Tony Leone US Coast Guard LST 27     (November 04, 2002)