Seventy-five years later, their obituaries preserve their tales of bravery
By: Linnea Crowther
10 days ago
Seventy-five years after the D-Day invasion of World War II, families and nations are honoring the service members who fought in one of the war's most famous battles.
As we mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, there are few survivors left to to tell their tales. Even the youngest of the men who stormed the beaches at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944 are now in their 90s.
This past year we've bid farewell to a number of D-Day veterans. Their stories are preserved in their Legacy obituaries, giving us a glimpse of what it was like for the 156,000 who landed at Normandy that historic day. Join us as we salute their service.
“His Cal studies were interrupted by his Navy service in WWII. He was the executive officer of the minesweeper YMS 350 at age 22. His ship swept the English Channel in preparation for the D-Day Invasion, snagged a German mine and sank off Cherbourg France. He rescued two injured crewmen despite suffering a broken and dislocated shoulder himself. He told the story of holding the drowning men’s lifejackets in his teeth as he swam the diesel filled waters to the rescue ship. Mead was a true war hero, earning the prestigious Navy and Marine Corp Medal and the French Legion of Honor medal.” Read more
“He served in World War II in the European Theatre participating in some of the most documented engagements to include D-Day, ‘Battle of Bulge’ as staff sergeant and platoon leader in the 3393 Quartermaster Truck Company. The Company was a component of the acclaimed predominantly-black unit, named Red Ball Express for their unique, yet effective, truck convoy system responsible for transporting fuel, ammunition, food, clothes and other critical supplies throughout the US Third Army. Staff Sergeant McCraw was a multiple awarded non-commissioned officer; receiving the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart during his military service.” Read more
“An American Patriot, Frank served in the United States Army during both WWII and the Korean War and was a former POW. He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division when he was captured on D-Day. Frank was liberated by General Patton’s Army, and along with his regiment, received a Presidential Citation for ‘Extraordinary Heroism and Outstanding performance of duty against the enemy in Normandy, France, 6 June 1944.’ He also received the Bronze Star for heroism and a Purple Heart for wounds he received during the Korean War and the French Legion of Honor for his participation in Operation Overlord.” Read more
“World War II was raging. He volunteered for the infantry and was assigned to the 1st Division. After basic training he was sent to England to train for the D-Day landing. He landed on Omaha Beach at H-Hour + 58 minutes. He actually swam ashore as the landing boat he was in received a direct hit and sank. He fought across Europe until V-E Day and received numerous citations, including the WWII Victory Medal and the Bronze Star.” Read more
“After graduating from high school, he was drafted into the Army, where he served as a Drop Master assigned to the 490th Quarter Master Depot and attached to the 101st Air Bourne Division during WWII supplying airborne troops behind enemy lines. While performing his duty on September 18, 1944, SGT Gay was shot in the left arm and shoulder. He refused medical attention and courageously remained at his station. Arriving over the designated area, he manipulated the release with only the use of his right hand, dropping the vitally needed supplies. Not until then, did he allow his wounds to be treated. The fortitude and devotion to duty displayed by SGT Gay reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. As a result of his efforts and gallantry, he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He also was awarded the Air Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze Stars. During his tour of duty, SGT Gay was involved in the Western Front which included the Normandy D-Day Invasion, or Operation Overlord, the Northern France Campaign, the Rhineland Campaign which included the Rhineland Offensive, the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign which included the Siege of Bastogne, the Battle of the Bulge, and Holland-Operation Market Garden, as well as to include the Central Europe Campaign.” Read more