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Military Gear Used for D-day: June 6, 1944

Fold3 Image - Soldiers exit ramp on landing craft on D-Day
On June 6, 1944, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Soldiers were equipped with the best gear and weapons available at the time. Here’s a few examples of what soldiers would have used:

Higgins Landing Crafts: Before the ground assault could begin, Soldiers needed to get to the beach. They boarded Higgins landing crafts (or LCVP “landing craft, vehicle and personnel”) for the trip to shore.

Donald Englar, just 18-years-old, operated a Higgins boat. He recalled the struggle of landing under heavy enemy fire. He tried to deliver the men as close to the beach as possible. Sometimes they unloaded in knee-deep water. On another run he hit a sandbar and the soldiers had to unload in water over their heads. Many of the men died by German gunfire before leaving the boat. Others died on the exit ramp, and some in the pounding surf. One trip he started with 33 men on board and only six survived.

M1 Steel Helmet: On shore, a soldier’s head was protected by the newly designed M1 steel helmet. The M1 helmet was one-size-fits-all, with an inner adjustable lining insert. Although relatively heavy, the design was extremely effective and was used by the military for more than forty years. The M1 was often referred to as the “steel pot” because its design made it handy for a washing bowl or even a cooking pot.

M1 Garand Rifle: On D-Day, soldiers were carrying the M1 Garand Rifle. General George Patton called the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” The Garand was an auto-loading semi-automatic rifle that gave troops tremendous advantage in firepower.

M-1928 Haversack: The M-1928 Haversack was a pack designed to carry everything a soldier would need to stay alive in the field, including food rations and extra clothing.

M-1910 Shovel: The M-1910 shovel was a collapsible tool essential for trenching. As one soldier said, “If an infantry man thinks he’s going to be in one place for more than five minutes, he digs a hole.”

Cricket: U.S. Paratroopers that dropped in behind enemy lines relied on a simple device called the “cricket” as a way to communicate or signal one another. The small hand-held device produced a sound imitating nature and was unrecognizable to the enemy. One click was a request for identification. Two clicks indicated a friendly response.

Do you have a family member that participated in D-Day? Do you have any of the gear they used? Tell us about it and search our archives for more information on D-Day and WWII.


  1. Jim Spenlau says:

    As a boy in Covington, KY in the 50s we had much of that gear – no rifle. The Haversack was a backpack/bookbag it kept the books and paper dry. We also had crickets – we did not know they were used in The War. My father had flat feet and was assigned to Ft Ord, CA. his brothers served in the Navy. Several of his cousins serve in other branches. I don’t think any were part of D-Day. He had one cousin who was an Army Medic and was in Europe when the war broke out. He spent the entire war in Europe, earned 3 Purple Hearts, 3 Bronze Stars and 3 unit awards.

  2. Richard Eaton says:

    I have, and regularly shoot in competition, M1 Garand Rifle and M1 Carbine

  3. Patrick says:

    My grandfather was fighting up through Italy apart of the 36th. Believe he was around Arno at that point in time. He always said D-Day got all the glory even though he did multiple beach landings in Italy. He ended up being captured and was a POW for 9 months in Germany until his camp was liberated. Almost was sent to Japan but thankfully that was ended in time.

    • Terry W Malone says:

      My uncle was blown out of a tank in Sicily but survived. Had health problems the rest of his life

    • Bob says:

      My oldest uncle, Kenneth Mohr was in the 36th, 141st Infantry in Italy and his younger brother, James Mohr was in the 17th Airborne, 460th Regimental Combat Team, who also landed in Italy. After Anzio landing and Italy surrendered one went AWOL to visit the other. Their COs told them to go to Rome for a day to visit and then get back. Jim Still had to jump in Operation Varsity, wounded at the Seigfried line and awarded a bronze star with V device. they both survived the war. Jim was on a ship headed for Japan when the war ended and got out o service. Ken stayed in and fought in Korea and finally retired after 27 years of service.

  4. W T Clark says:

    My Dad bought a War surplus LCVP. We took it to Catalina island and later moored it in Santa Monica. Sold to fishermen who put a bow and cabin on it.

  5. Kate says:

    There’s a YouTube video showing the centenary celebrations of the beginning of WW2 at Trebah Garden in Cornwall, England. The small beach at the bottom of the garden was used as an embarkation point for 7,500 men of the US 29th Infantry Division. A ceremony is held there every year on the first Saturday in June to remember the men who left Cornwall.

    Phil in Cornwall – Published on 2 Jun 2014
    This is a video of the annual Trebah Military Day held this year on Saturday 31st May 2014 to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War One, the 70th Anniversary of the D Day Landings and the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

    As guests of Major Tony Hibbert MC and his family various veterans’ organisations such as the Parachute Regiment Association, the Normandy Veterans Association and the US 29th Infantry Division Association, hold a day of events in the beautiful setting of Trebah Gardens on the Helford River, Cornwall. From the Embarkation Hard at the foot of the gardens 7,500 men of the US 29th Infantry Division embarked for D Day in 1944 landing on Omaha Beach. Major Hibbert won his Military Cross for his actions with the Parachute Regiment at Arnhem in September 1944.

    The day’s events includes parades and a commemorative service and wreath laying at the Trebah Memorials, music from the Ritzy Belles, the Kernow Pipes & Drums Band, and the Falmouth Shout Sea Shanty Group, vehicles from the Military Vehicles Trust, delivery of a Sea Wreath by helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and glimpses of the Red Arrows display at Falmouth.”

    US troops were also based at Trelissick House (National Trust) near Truro and many sailed from specially constructed roads and slipways on the Roseland Pensinula in Cornwall. Many of these are still there.

    As a 3 month old baby I was admitted to City Hospital in Truro in a ward full of American soldiers. Of course at the time, no-one realised why so many American troops were based in Cornwall and then suddenly disappeared.

    • Leah says:

      Great information! I will search that up in YouTube.

    • Howard Hodges says:

      GREAT INFO! I plan to utilize it as I’d like to visit the departure point for D-Day troops, after having visited Utah Beach in Normandy and the battlefields where the 29th Infantry Division fought. I wondered what the “other side” — the English debarkation point — was like (I’ve heard there might be simulated channel “crossings” one can charter from England to Normandy?). Having served from 1984-2009 with the Army National Guard 29th Infantry Division (the only reserve unit that landed on D-Day), I am particularly interested. I’ve also visited the nice D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA (that town lost a generation of men — the highest per capita loss of any US city — because the locals fought with the town’s National Guard unit, many who were lost in the first landing wave.) I plan to visit the WWII Museum in New Orleans some day (it had Higgins Boats on display.) Thanks for this info.

    • My husband was a Royal Marine Commando he went into France 36 hours before D. Day with 2 other Marines and 3 people outo of a British prison. Thankle zGod he made it back

  6. Pat Lassalle Pilgrim says:

    My Dad built those boats at Higgins. He was so proud of being an employee of Mr. Higgins. He served in San Diego during the war so as to quickly repair those boats and send them back out. Thank you to our military who kept us free! Pat Lassalle Pilgrim

  7. Connie Taylor says:

    My dad, PfC Donald LaRue George, enlisted 1 April 1943 in Los Angeles, California, and shortly after his enlistment, volunteered to go into the Rangers. He was assigned to the 5th Ranger Battalion, Company “C”. He told the story to our mom, that when he exited the landing craft, he sunk down into a hole on the beach. Fortunately, he was wearing his flotation vest and along with the help of a fellow soldier, helped pull him up. He then continued onto Omaha Beach. After securing the beachhead area, he was sent out on patrol on 9 July 1944, one month shy of his twentieth birthday, to go behind enemy lines searching for German soldiers in the area. While on patrol, he stepped on a land mine causing him to loose the lower portion of his right leg. After the medics stabilized him, he was sent to a French hospital, then back to England and finally shipped out to the states where he ended up at Bushnell Hospital, Brigham City, Utah. He was eventually fitted for an artificial leg and was honorably discharged on 13 September 1945. I remember as a small child, he took us out in the desert to fire his rifle and I promptly ended up on my butt! The kick-back was unbelievably strong! The only memento I have from his service are his ribbons he was awarded, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European African Middle Eastern Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal, US Army Overseas Ribbon and the World War II French Croix de Guerre Medal.

    • Jeannette McGee Rackliff says:

      My Dad was in the same unit! John P McGee. I have a picture of the group before they shipped out for D-Day!

    • Robyn Anthony Hansen says:

      My great uncle, Oliver Morrs Anthony went ashore at Utah beach. He was later killed in action on 2/6/1945 in Germany. He was part of Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.

    • Mel MacNeil says:

      When I was a teenager a man drove up into the country where I lived and asked my mother if there were anyone in her family that might catch him a deer and he would pay good money for the catch…well my mother knew that I was very good with a gun and she asked me if I wanted to take on the challenge, so I said yes…the gun I was good with was a 22 long barrel, I was always target practicing on the farm so naturally I got quite sharp with my rifel…but it wasn`t until this man opened up the trunk of his car and passed me the rifle that he wanted me to use that I knew that i was in for a much larger challenge than I really expected…any one femilar with the army rifles back then will know what I am talking about…I believe they had an order to bury them after the war, with the bullets…don`t know, I was told that afterward…compared to my small 22 long barrel this rifle he passed to me was so heavy, I couldn`t believe it…of course I wasn`t going to complain, (trying to be a man) you know !! Then he passed me a hand full of copper top bullets…they were called, 6.5`s…six point five`s…or the rifle was called a 6.5…didn`t know which it was, it had a large strap on it as well and I used the strap all the time when I went out to hunt…the truth of the matter is I always hunted rabbits, not deer, so this was going to be an all-new experience for me…there were times I would pray that I wouldn`t come across any deer…just didn`t want to take down anything that large, and I didn`t know what kind of damage the large rifle was going to cause, but the day came, a large buck standing, couldn`t of been any more than one hundred feet in front of me, nibbling on some branches…I remember how relaxed that beautiful buck seemed to look as I slowly picked up the rifle and took aim and pulled the trigger…I could not believe what had happened then…the bullet sliced off a large branch about two feet from the head of the deer, with the deer raising on his hind legs and a jump in the opposite direction, he was gone…the recoil from that powerful rifle almost took me to my knees…backed me up about five feet…after a few really fancy words toward that war vet, I cooled down, angry about the money I had just lost…and thankful at the same time that I didn`t cause any harm to that beautiful buck…I knew that I could of easily hit that deer with a stone if I had to of tried. The site on that army rifle just could not be adjusted, my brother and I used up the rest of the coppertops trying, but it just would not shoot straight…it would always be a shade off !! Well, that put a damper on all my hunting after that…I didn`t mean for my experience here to be so long, but I hope that some of you might have enjoyed this greenhorn adventure. Thank God for all those brave shoulders male and female who made it possible for me to be here sharing this with you…let us all continue to enjoy the life these brave people provided for us !!

    • mike dean says:

      Just read your entry about your dad on “D” day. Depending on how much you know about your dad’s service, I may be able to help you with more info.
      My dad had been 1st Sgt. of C company, 5th Bn Rangers, due to an accident playing football while in training, the Co. Sgt. Major was injured and therefore unable to make the landing on Utah Beach. My dad became Sgt. Major, third man in his craft to land on the beach, along with Co. Commander, and radio-man.

  8. Bill McEntire says:

    You didn’t mention the bayonette.

  9. Bill Quayle says:

    My son belongs to the Historical Reenactment Society, and regularly participates in historical reenactments of D-Day and other WWII battles, to keep the memories of the bravery, courage, and sacrifice these American heros alive. He has collected, and uses, the full complement of gear those patriots used during the war. For more i formation on the group and events, visit – this is a great group working to honor Americas best.

  10. Philip Conrsd says:

    My late uncle, Charles Nall, was an army sergeant who came ashore on D Day after the beach had been secured. His job was to help construct bridges allowing heavy equipment to pass over flooded fields and streams. I found out his commanding officer was Captain James Collins, my wife’s uncle- a one in a million coincidence.

    Many people today, even with so much documented information available, believe there was comparatively few dangers present after the beachhead was secured.

    My uncle told of mines, snipers, mortars, constantly endangering them during their construction efforts. Many were killed. “ Uncle Jim” was driven by Jeep along winding roads leading to construction sites. At almost every bend of the road they were fired upon by German machine gun nests. One by one these nests were eliminated- with many casualties.

    Much has been said, and will continue to be said, of our heros on D Day- and of course all other battles and incredible hardships they endured both in Europe and the Pacific. But as we sit comfortably in our homes, let us never, ever, forget, our security was bought and paid for by their sacrifice. May God’s grace be with them all.

    • Anne Strupp says:

      So well said, Philip. And thank you for including the Pacific, where my father landed on many a beach, under heavy fire, including Peleliu and Okinawa.

    • Peter Kilburn says:

      You should be very proud of your Dad. All the medals are precious, especially the last one. My dad has some of the same ones your Dad has. To me and lots of veterans , it means our Dads are special. Blessings Peter Kilburn / Viet Vet. US Navy Seabees/ Combined Expeditionary Forces .

    • Jack Yandell says:

      Never forget…

    • Judy McMillan says:

      World War II truly was worldwide. My father, Max Fischinger, was an American locomotive train engineer in North Africa. I have a few pictures of him, but he never talked about it. He also served in Italy.

  11. S.Schlack says:

    This tiny, tiny bent periscope-like device that I was told he used when down in a foxhole. You look in it and it shows what is above you but at land level, so I guess you can see where gunfire us coming from. I don’t know what it is called. But it was with my uncle’s service medal and discharge papers. He was in many, many places like Italy, France, Africa, but more. His name was Robert A. Wortman, from South Dakota. He was a quiet, hard-working man. He didn’t talk about his experience except to say he saw generosity by volunteers from St. Vincent-DePaul toward little children whose families & homes were demolished in this war, giving them food, etc.

  12. Melissa says:

    My dad was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne .I used to sleep in his WWII sleeping bag as a kid. Let’s just say The wool liner was not soft and cozy!

  13. Karl Schwarm says:

    I would have listed the Bangalore as one of the key pieces of gear for the D-day landings. Still in use today and without it they would have never got through the wire.

  14. John Hoyt says:

    Can anyone tell me the Graves Registration Units deployed to the Beaches at Normandy on D day?

    My uncle was a captain in one such company, I believe at Omaha Beach, but I do not have the unit designations. In several of his letters home he described the heavy bombardment and German fire directed at the beaches, but never discussed the carnage or casualties he saw or delt with. He seldom if ever, in my presence, discussed D day or its aftermath with me until after I returned from Vietnam in1968, and then only in very general terms. He did not
    keep any of his gear with the exception of the class A uniform he wore home.

    Thanks for any information you can provide.

    • Patrick says:

      Looks like warefarehistorynetwork may have some info. has some info. That gives you a list of the deceased and where they rest. My grandfather was the same he didn’t talk about it till I came home from Iraq in 03 and it was very sparse.

    • Jonathan Gawne says:

      There’s a fellow in the UK is perhaps the best person to speak to about the GRS in Normandy. He’s researched it for many, many years. If you can get in touch with me I will hook you up. find me on facebook.

      PS If you want a rather detailed look at what was actually carried on D-day by the various types of units, I suggest the book “Spearheading D-day.” I am, however, slightly biased, but it was Tagged as one of the 10 best books on D-day by the Wall Street Journal.

    • Ken George says:

      603rd, 606th, 607th and a platoon of the 3041st GRS and possibly some others depending on source. Suggest you Goggle “Graves Registration in Normandy by Brian N Siddall – Airborne in Normandy for a good description of the events. Also, if interested in the actual logistics of what they did suggest you go to My father’s GRS company was decimated when their landing craft either hit a mine or took a direct hit from a shore battery. He washed ashore the next day. Never spoke about it like all the others and found out only after he passed. Seven Uncles also in the War and always told never to bring it up with our Dad. Only time he ever said anything to me was after I visited Normandy and brought back pictures of the cemeteries. With a tear in his eye he said it was a shame that they had disinterred all the men and separated them by country. “These young men all died following orders from above and we buried them together as honorably as we could under the circumstances. They should have left them Rest In Peace as they gave their all for there countrymen.”

    • John Hoyt says:

      Ken George,

      Thank you for the information. I will follow up on the information you provided.

  15. Robert Mcvicker says:

    My Dad Herbert P McVicker was in the Battle of the Bulge I had no luck in finding out any thing about his war record.I would appreciate any help anyone could give me . Thank you. God Bless our soldiers past and present , always salute the flag for their service for our freedom.

    • Ariviste says:

      Try Fold3, a site that gives military records for all wars going back to the Revolutionary War.


      Also ask for your family members service recods from the US National Archives (NARA). It was free to immediate family members.
      In the early 2000s, my mother, as a service widow, got about a 40 page file, including military school training sessions, pay promotions, ship assignments, leave times & reenlistments details… a genealogy treasure!!

  16. Leslie Ogden says:

    My dad Everett D. Millican did not want to talk too much about the war. He did tell me that he was a field lineman and laid wire and spiral cable. He was one of the first ones to land on Omaha Beach to get the communications up and running. Throughout the war he operated a portable field telephone and drove a line truck under combat conditions. He repaired French and German open wire lines. He also installed telephone and telegraph line in France an German. He met and married my mom who was from England. When he came home he worked for power and light companies. He died at the age of 82. I always make sure my flag is flying on Veterans and Memorial Days.


    My father was an FTC, one of those who controlled the gunnery marksmanship of ship’s artillary during battles, correcting accuracy etc.
    During D-Day, he was on the Admiral’s ship which led the armada. He told me that the ships dropped anchor & maintained position during that whole week, despite Luftwaffe strafing night & day. The crews slept on deck during this time, so they could repell attacks at any time. Only the severely wounded & the ammunition were belowdecks.
    The ship’s guns were dueling with the huge Nazi guns on the cliffs above, a few miles distant, providing some distraction while the infantry went ashore & wiped out the inland Nazi defense bunkers one by one in brutal hand to hand combat.
    He only spoke of these experiences one time, for a school paper of mine. He asked that I never question him again, due to the horrors.
    That to me, is one of the bravest things he ever did.
    Happy Fathers Day to all our fathers, both the living & the dead!!

  18. My father, Hugh Hudson Melrose, was a PFC in Co. G of the 357th Inf. in the 90th Division, U.S. Army. He enlisted in March of 1942 at Denver, Colorado. He was sent to Camp Barkeley near Abilene, Texas for training. They did swamp manuvers in Louisiana in 1942. The 90th was sent to California for desert training during the summer of 1943. They were then sent to Ft. Dix, New Jersey in Dec of 1943 in preparation for going overseas to England. They were put on ships in March of 1944 and arrived in England in early April of 1944. They were on ships in the English Channel when the landings started on D Day. The 357th landed on Utah beach on D+2. My father was one of many of the Co. G, 357th soldiers that were killed in action on 12 June 1944 at a small village called Gourblesville in Normandy. His body was returned to the USA in Nov 1948 for burial at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. My twin sister, Patricia and I are his only children, we were born in Sept 1943. Our mother, Ruth, never remarried.

    • Rosemary Thele Smith says:

      I read your information on Fold 3 with interest because my father, William Edward Thele, was also at Camp Barkley. He entered service Apr. 3, 1942 at Ft. Des Moines Iowa and was sent to Camp Barkley where he was with Hq Battery 90th Division Artillery. He went to California desert manuvers and Ft. Dix the same as your father, and went overseas on March 23, 1944. he was in the D-day invasion and was in France at the end of the War. Luckily he came home in Oct, 1945. My parents were married in Abilene and I was born there. My mother and I returned to Iowa when the unit went to California. I have searched without much results for information about the HQ unit. If you know of any books or stories of the 90th I would be interested.

  19. Carl A. Plicket says:

    Carl A. Plickert
    I have a cousin from Findley,OH who had a brother that was a tail gunner in B-17 over Germany who’s planes tail was seperated from the rest of the plane by another shot down aircraft. Due to the fact tail gunners didn’t wear parachuts because of the confined area he rode the tail down to the ground with him in it. 2 German shoulders came over to check out the wreckage and of course found him in it. He was so badly busted up that after inspecting the wreckage they decided that he dead they started to walk away thinking he was a goner. One of them decided to check his name tag and found out that he had a German name of Lentz. looking closer they saw that he was still alive and had him put in a hospital with other wounded Germans. At his time of discharge from the hospital to be sent to a prison camp the doctor told him told him that the only thing that saved him was the fact that he had a German Surname. My cousin Homer Lentz was the person who told me the story and I got to meet his brother at one of the La Rue family reunions, around the year of 1949.

  20. Donald E. Breland says:

    FYI: The Late actor, James Arnes was one of the Tallest men in the Army, at that time and receive a wound to the leg, during the invasion of Normandy, and had a slight limp, which can be noticed, in many of the movies and Tv shows he was in.

    • Brad Tipton says:

      Sorry that I have to correct you, sir. I looked up Arness’ injury on Wikipedia. Copied the sentence with reference numbers to paste below:
      Arness was severely wounded in his right leg during the Battle of Anzio.[7][8]
      This would have been in Italy.

  21. Charles Henson says:

    My father S/Sgt Charles J. Henson made the tail end of WWII, then Korea and Viet Nam. As a kid, I too played with much of the equipment our troops carried on D DAy and like many of my friends who are no longer with us I proudly served in Viet Nam flying the F-111 aircraft. I had it much easier than any of these guys ever had it.

    • Richard Faulkner says:

      I was a Crew chef on the F111 in 73-79. It was the D model. To my knowledge none of our aircraft ever made it to Vietnam. However there were several of them that were loaded heavy with ordinance and their mission lasted a long time so you never know where they went. They were extraordinary aircraft.

  22. Ron Kley says:

    My father-in-law, Harry J. Albaugh of Cascade, NH, was with an army engineer unit that went in on D-Day ahead of the first assault wave to remove beach obstacles designed to stop landing craft. He survived the war and returned to live out his life in NH.

    And, as Abigail Adams said many years earlier – “remember the ladies.” Many young women followed closely behind the troops into Normandy and beyond, driving army “deuce-and-a-half” trucks fitted out with gear to produce mountains of donuts and oceans of coffee. These were the Red Cross “clubmobiles” that brought refreshments and a touch of “back home” to troops close to the front lines across France and on into Germany until the war was won.

  23. My uncle brought back a Japanese rifle with a rising sun and bayonet. My son restored it along with an American rifle and original ammunition. I can’t believe how heavy and LONG they were…so proud of our fighting troops and the young men who fought, died and were injured on this beach. God bless you all..

  24. My Father was part of the second wave on Omaha Beach as a second Lt. He never really went into detail the events of that day but years later watching “The Longest Day” and reading Stephen Ambrose’s book “D-Day” gave me a perspective of what that day must have been like.

  25. Mary says:

    My dad was the third wave with the 90th Division Army that went in. Many, many, many weeks his troop came upon one of the POW Camps that they liberated. When I was in High School, at dinner table that evening I mentioned to my parents that in history class that afternoon, we started reading about the beginning of the WWII.
    When I saw my dad bowed his head and just shook it, I knew then do not ask him about the POW Camps. To this day, I will never forget that look he had on his face. May they all rest in peace.

  26. Cathy Hughes says:

    My father was a Sargeant in the 1st Infantry Division (aka The Big Red One) and landed at Omaha Beach. He would never talk about it and he didn’t bring home any of his gear.

  27. Margaret DVIS says:

    I have a question: According to “The Longest Day” (movie) the crickets were a problem because the developers and the paratroopers did not know that the 2 clicks would sound identical to the sound made when the Germans rechambered the rifles they were using. Since many of the people participating in making that movie were actually there, was there more than one rifle in use? Those that landed near St.-Mere-Eglise evidently had this problem with the crickets. The scene is about 1/3-1/2 through the movie.

    • Ron Kley says:

      The sound of a round being chambered and the bolt being closed on a standard G98 German infantry rifle of WWII is (like two clicks of a signalling “cricket”) a two-part sound. Even under the stress and confusion of combat, however, it’s little hard to believe that the two sounds would have been confused.
      This would not be the first time that film writers/producers have exercised “poetic license” in latching on to a possibility and presenting it as reality.
      I’d want to see this story recorded in a soldier’s journal or an after-action report before giving it much credence.

    • jonathan gawne says:

      pure Hollywoodism. The two sound nothing alike. There is no known reference to this happening, although there does seem to be at least one case where the Germans figured out the crickets pretty quickly, and went around rounding up paratroopers with them.

  28. Jeremy says:

    Haven’t been able to locate any D-Day relatives but my wife’s grandfather served with the Infantry in Belgium. In the fall of 44 he got separated from the other troops during a friendly fire fight and shortly after was captured by German forces. He was held in several different camps before eventually being liberated by Russian forces to my knowledge in the spring of 45

  29. Lora Wimsatt says:

    Excellent article – brief but accurate and informative. For those who have not been – I believe you would thoroughly appreciate a visit to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans LA. Outstanding exhibits; WWII vets are admitted free and given the absolute red carpet treatment. Highly recommended for anyone interested in military history on global, national or personal levels. Museum also offers 1940’s style restaurant and USO show/dining experience. Be sure to start your visit with the multi-sensory film experience. I took my WWII-vet Dad there in 2017; best time of our lives.

    • Ron Kley says:

      The WWII Museum in New Orleans is an absolute must-see for anyone with an interest in the war, or who has a relative/ancestor who served. My only criticism of the place is that there’s just too much to fully take in and appreciate in the course if a single visit, even if you have all day to spend there.

  30. Barbara Shook says:

    I have all the letters from my dad (Navy/South Pacific), his 2 brothers (one, 82nd army paratrooper D-Day, 2nd, Navy -stateside rehab for returning soldiers). Also, all the letters home from my mother in law (WAC-England) and Father in law (Army -chauffeur to General Turner England). There is a lot of history there. They are organized but not transcribed. I have quite a bit of miscellaneous keepsakes from all of them. Besides those letters I have the ones to/from my husband USAF Vietnam 68-69.

  31. Dale Tracy says:

    Thanks for these stories of your relatives who served our country during our recent wars. I tear up when I think of the sacrifices they made and the time they took out of their lives to defend our country. I remember as a child seeing these vets return home and go to work making our country the greatest country in the world. I know each of you can feel proud of your family members who served our country. My hat is off to you and them.

  32. Beatrice A. Marquez says:

    I had three uncles that fought in Europe. One of them was in the 2nd ID the Indian Head and he landed at Normandy on DPlus1. His name was Herman Cortez. He fought in the hedgerows up into northern France and into the Battle of the Bulge where he met his Fraternal twin Jesse who gave him the sad news that their mother had died. They survived the war but their mother did not. They were both decorated by their government and by the French government. My other uncle Luterio Zepeda fought in the Battle of the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine River where he was severly wounded and received the Purple Heart. Thank God they all came back.

    • Laura Giles says:

      My dad was there also, Beatrice, in the same Indian Head division, and later was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. His name was Alvin Sherrell. He very rarely discussed the experiences he had there, except that when they landed on the beach (in the night of 6/6-6/7?), he had on so many layers of clothes, carried such heavy load, and had to wade/swim in. When they finally made it in, they found a “red” beach, with so many who had lost their lives.

      I never understood as a child why my dad seemed to dislike Christmas so much; he would have a meal with us, watched us open gifts, then would retreat to my parent’s bedroom, and lay down. Year after year he did this. I heard him say (years later), they almost starved to death that Christmas of 1944, some froze, buddies were shot beside him at the Battle of the Bulge.

      We will likely never know all that was sacrificed for us, in the name of freedom. But I am forever grateful.

  33. Howard Hodges says:

    GREAT INFO! I plan to utilize it as I’d like to visit the departure point for D-Day troops, after having visited Utah Beach in Normandy and the battlefields where the 29th Infantry Division fought. I wondered what the “other side” — the English debarkation point — was like (I’ve heard there might be simulated channel “crossings” one can charter from England to Normandy?). Having served from 1984-2009 with the Army National Guard 29th Infantry Division (the only reserve unit that landed on D-Day), I am particularly interested. I’ve also visited the nice D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA (that town lost a generation of men — the highest per capita loss of any US city — because the locals fought with the town’s National Guard unit, many who were lost in the first landing wave.) I plan to visit the WWII Museum in New Orleans some day (it had Higgins Boats on display.) Thanks for this info.

  34. Ray Dacies says:

    When I went through Basic training in 1963 we were using much of the same equipment as was used on D-Day, Including the wonderful M-1 rifle. I also used a .30 cal carbine in Viet Nam. The rifle of issue was the M-14, but we managed to carry whatever US weapon we preferred, including the 1911. I traded mine for a 9mm Star Mod B. to an Aussie, who got it from a Frenchman who got it from God knows where. It was used by the German army in WW II. I still love to shoot the M-1 and the Carbine, but have retired the Star and gone back to the 1911. I must say the weapons used during WW II were the best and I think much better than what we have today. Yes I own a couple AR 15s too. One is even made by Armalite. To my brothers and sisters under arms, Thank you and Welcome Home.

  35. I’m member of the Commemorative Air Force, Centex Wing, San Marcos, Texas. We have the deep honor of being the care takers of the lead aircraft for the airborne invasion on June 6,1944. The C-47 name “That’s All Brother” was found in the bone yard 4 years ago. We got it out, it’s fully restored and flying to airshows.

    We are planning to fly it to Normandy, France in June 6, 2019 for the 75th anniversary. Check out our websites and

    Standing in the jump doorway, you try to imagine what those young men saw and felt that dark morning. The plane now is based in our active 1942 World War 2 Army Air Corp Hangar.

    My dad came back and didn’t talk about it like so many did.

  36. Donna Bragg says:

    My grandfather Bennie Blankenship was a Paratrooper in wwIi, and received a Purple Heart, but he passed away when I was 7, and I would love to know how I could find out any information about his service? I was very close to him, and I just feel the need to find out more about that part of his life.

    • jonathan gawne says:

      Do you know what division he was in 82 or 101st? There are some very good historians of these units that may be able to help you. Or you can try reading the book ‘Finding your Father’s War’

  37. John Pozega says:

    One of my great uncles landed on Normandy Beach on D Day. His name was Michael Wesley King. He was a brother of my maternal grandmother. He was a E-5 in the Army. He was from Morse Wisconsin. I don’t have any of his military equipment or gear. He did go back many years after the War and was honored in France by the French government

  38. The Greatest Generation, a title earned and paid for by the blood of patriots. Salute!!!

  39. Howard Mann says:

    My father, Harold Gene Mann, Co. C, 5th Ranger Battalion, landed on D-Day on Omaha Beach, and was among the Rangers who “Led the Way” inland near Vierville Sur Mer. I have his Ranger patches, scroll and photos of him in his uniform. I believe he was 19 years old at the time.

  40. CAPT Don Galamaga USN Ret says:

    Thanks for this piece on D-Day and amphibious operations during WWII. In 1962, I was tapped to help with the decommissioning of the LST-533.(If you look at large scale photos during D-Day ops, you can see the 533 on the beach with many other landing vessels around. Amazing) The ship was named USS Cheboygan County (LST 533). We brought it out of commission for the Cuban missile crisis along with for or five others, who had landed at Normandy, in 1944 and made it back home to the U.S. We trained the crew mostly in Charlestown, SC while the balance worked in Jacksonville, Florida to get the machinery, boats, weapons, deck, and crew spaces upgraded. We trained offshore outside of Port Everglades when the crew manned the ship, were treated great by the local population, and assembled a group ready, if a decision to fend of the Russians in Cuba was necessary. Luckily, Pres Kennedy stared down Kruschev and that never happened. I was the Executive Officer and Navigator for this tour and we did some operations afterward in Panama for several years. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  41. Kendall says:

    My father’s youngest sibling was in the Pacific, Navy was his choice. Won no significant medals or awards to my certain knowledge during the war. He was an officer and his rank I am not certain. I don’t have any information about his WAR experience but following the surrender of the Japanese he was Mine sweeping on a barge used for that. He was assigned a number of men for this job.

    His barge happened to make contact with one of those Mines which made an enormous explosion. He was the only survivor of the blast and was in the water for at east twelve hours, clinging on to a wooden beam and was discovered by a fellow officer that was a close friend. One side of his body suffered many MAJOR injuries, but miraculously, he did survive after spending about a year in hospitals very near our Nation’s Capital.

    • Howard Hodges says:

      You can research his military records. The national military record archives are in St. Louis. Go to their website and they’ll prbly be a form that u have to fill out, but they could eventually send you his DD213, a complete record of his awards, rank, where he was based, etc. (usu. a 1-pg document.)

      Since he was severely wounded, if you’re still having problems, contact the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) chapter in your area. There will be someone who might be able to guide you in retrieving his military records. The American Legion as well as the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) will also have someone.

  42. Dolores Garm says:

    My uncle, Joseph Wieczorek, served in the Army in Europe during WWII. He was in the D Day landing, the Battles of the Bulge and Remagen Bridge. He made it to Paris and all the way down to Berchtesgaden. I don’t know which unit he was in, but I understand that he was a cook of some sort. He never said much about the war itself but spoke very well of the hospitality of the French people and their Calvados apple brandy. He had two Purple Hearts, two bayonets, a Nazi pennant, some photos and unused postcards among his things that we found after he died in 1997.