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
 

 

John Nasea, Jr
101st Airborne Division - 321st Glider FA Battalion

Normandy by Boat

The Account of William J. Stone:
The USS Susan B Anthony and her gallant crew ending off the coast of Normandy have become major topics of discussion. Jay’s first impression after boarding her was: This crew has a comfortable way in which to go to war. There was none of the silliness of 15 mile marches, in the rain and mud, or on hot dusty roads, or of living in the open and sleeping in pup tents while conducting service practice on the artillery range at Salisbury Plain.
The food was wonderful. They received only two but good meals a day. while the crew was eating three squares of that good food. Still, Jay had no complaint when Jay recalled the two meals a day Jay had eaten--sometimes on the Queen Mary in June of 1943. Most of the battalion came over in November 43 Any American who crossed the Atlantic on an English ship probably has similar memories of the food.
Jay had crossed over on the Queen which took only 3 or 4 days while the battalion crossed over on some English tub that took forever and the food was just bad. Then there was, wonder of wonders, the ship's store . Compared to the small PX our battalion had, this was the big PX in the sky. You could buy all the candy bars you could carry. Life was good but Jay knew it had to end soon. On D+1, The Susan B struck a mine. Jay never felt so much power. This was no small vessel on which they were sailing. Nonetheless, the power of the mine rocked the ship for several seconds. They were ordered onto the boat deck and in a few minutes Jay saw some seamen with dressings on their heads. They had been below when we hit a mine and had been injured.
Apparently we had lost communication with the flag ship because when a destroyer escort with a salvage officer on board came alongside, the captain of the stricken converted passenger ship conducted a discussion with that officer by means of a loud hailer. The captain proposed beaching his ship with the aid of tug(s). No way that he wanted to lose his command. The salvage officer conferred with the flagship and gave the captain the bad news that there were no tugs available to save his ship and that he should get his passengers and crew over the side and abandon ship. The captain was not too happy. Obedient, yes, but not happy.
Some rescue vessels, including His Majesty's destroyer, escorts were alongside, and over the side they went. The sea was running at two feet. This meant the cargo nets, down which they climbed, did not reach the DEs at all times. It was therefore necessary to make a quick calculation and then jump. There were no casualties from this.
When they pulled away from the Susan B, Jay was surprised at how far into the water she had settled in two hours. It seemed as those who were still waiting to leave the ship were just a few feet above the water line. Nevertheless, everyone left the ship safely. Soon after the last man left her, the Susan B plunged into the cold waters of the English Channel.
The crew of their DE treated them well. They gave them cigarettes and a meal. The food reminded Jay of the food on the Queen Mary and was the precursor of the food they would have in the Netherlands as part of the British Second Army three months hence. His Majesty's hospitality had to end, they went over the side once more, this time onto a United States Navy LCL. This was very crowded, so crowded in fact that a few of them climbed over the side of the boat and sat on a narrow ledge of the LCL with the water just inches away. In a short while a German fighter streaked across the beach strafing it. These were the first shots Jay had heard fired in anger. This made Jay uncomfortable and he climbed back over the side onto the crowded deck . Before, Jay could do this, however, two United States fighters came out of the sun and jumped the German. Jay last saw him headed inland smoking and losing altitude. Jay remembers nothing of their landing on Utah except that despite General Taylor's exhortations in the marshaling area, Jay did not call out, "Bill Lee." He learned long ago not to insist that his memory is more accurate per date of sinking than when some one else has a different recollection .

The Account of Norman Maine : Norm agrees with all Jay Stone says about the Susan B Anthony. Norm’s head hit hard a beam on the steel roof over his bunk. He figured his head was harder than the beam. Lights went out so they couldn't see if there was a dent in beam. But his head required no bandaging and got none. By the time Norm was off loaded he used no net just stepped over to the boat that was going to take them away. Rough seas. Fellow behind gave Norm a push as he thought Norm was going down between the two boats. Beach was policed up so it was D plus 1 or 2. Rearmed ourselves from the material left on the beach.

The Account of John Nasea, Jr. :
For D-Day, the battalion was told to waterproof their cannon, jeep, etc. They were going by boat. Most of the battalion personnel were assigned to the Susan B Anthony but John was assigned to the John S Mosby. Who was he with?
He turned to some one, a Cpl. or Sgt, and remarked that the Mosby was being loaded with the unloading chart. The pea shooters (75 mm howitzers) were loaded down in the hold while the 6 by 6s were loaded up on deck. That some one just shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "What can I do about it?"
Some where in the channel, John was run by a sand table to show him & others where they would be disembarking. In two minutes, they were supposed to know where they were to be. Sure!
Finally, the day dawned, the navy was firing their big guns and they just sat there watching the show. Lt. Fred King claims that he saw the Susie hitting the mine and going down. John may have but the memory is very dim. They just sat there! They had the guns.
According to the original Mission Accomplished, on the morning of June 9th a small boat pulled along side to find out who they were and were told that they had been looking for them for two days. First they had to off load those 6 by 6s, then they went down in the hold for the pea shooters. By then it was late afternoon and drizzly. Just as John was given orders to go over the side, Jerry came in shooting up the place. John climbed over on to the rope ladder which was swaying back and forth. The separation between the ship and the landing craft would get smaller and larger, ocean in between.
Mrs. Nasea’s little boy Johnny was twixt and tween but Jerry finally went home and he finally got onto the landing craft. The landing was uneventful and he spent the night, on the beach which by this time was swept clean, a lonely damp and cold boy. The next night he was assigned with several others whom he barely knew to an out post on guard. “Did some one out there call “Halt?”” It was the Red Ball Express. Boy, did they do a job.

John Nasea, Jr

These memoirs are published with the authorization of John Nasea, Jr as parts of his report "Firepower".

FIREPOWER by John Nasea, Jr & Al Nolime Tangere
101st Airborne Division
Normandy - Holland - Bastogne - Southern Germany - Vietnam
Mission Accomplished
Volume 85, 2nd edition, February 1999
Voices of the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion Association