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Thread: The Day of Days

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    Scouter's Avatar
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    The Day of Days

    Please take a moment out of your day today, June 6. To say thanks. 75 years ago the liberation of Europe began on the beaches of Normandy.

    I got got up at 1 am this morning and walked down the drive to my covered bridge. Up in the eave of the bridge is a flag from the 101st Airborne Division, the screaming eagles
    The 101st and the 82nd Airborne were the tip of the spear, they jumped out of their C47s beginning at 1:00 am behind enemy lines

    Like most of you, the list of people in your head that are true heroes is pretty short
    The guys of the 101st are on mine

    Jim
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    The first one I remember is Capt. Walter K. Fisher my wife's uncle. I don't know exactly what he was doing on June 6, 1944 but like many pilots was doing his part. Less than a year later, April 7, 1945 he went MIA. The last anyone saw of him, his P47 was chasing a German fighter. One year and one day later he was declared KIA. Almost 6 months later his grave was found, he was buried next to a German pilot in a small German church yard. I have one of his Purple Hearts which he received for wounds received in an earlier engagement. I was happy to have been able to in a small way fulfill a promise he made to his mother to give her a airplane ride after the war. She got into the right seat of my C120 with effort but enjoyed every minute as we flew over her farm in Delaware Ohio and then landed in their pasture for a surprise picnic. She hugged and kissed me but confessed a wish that it could have been Walter.

    Jack
    Last edited by n40ff; 06-06-2019 at 05:54 AM.
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    One of our favorite place to fly was a 1800' grass strip on the Mohawk River just West of Albany NY. I enjoyed sitting with the owner Jim Miller. He started out in the North Africa campaign and then fighting in Italy. In early May 1944 they learned they were being sent to England for some R&R. Less then a week after getting there he landed on a beach in France he had never heard of then walked all the way to Berlin. Both the strip and Jim are sadly gone.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    As a kid all my friends father's were WWII vets. I grew up surrounded by men who were some of the bravest men to ever walk the earth and I never realized the Giants who were around me. God bless them all.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reminder, Jim. My uncle was there with the 101st Airborne. Other uncles were pilots. I grew up with giants and only appreciated it later.
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    I wonder what people in Germany are saying & feeling today?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I wonder what people in Germany are saying & feeling today?


    Probably thankful someone was trying to liberate them also

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Longest Day tonight at 8 PM EDT on Turner Classic Movies. Ch 132 on Dish. Star studded cast!
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    My uncle spent time in Armor in the desert war, never could talk about it, guess he did not have a good time.
    My father had been a pilot before the war, he worked in a power station so he was exempt. But he wanted to fly. He got accepted and off to Texas he went. He was being trained for the gliders. During his advanced training while in T-6s, one morning when checking the duty roster he saw his name, R.North scheduled to fly a general to California in a B-17. Never having been in one he got a friend and they went to check it out. The General and his entourage arrived so they fired up the plane and headed off to California. My father had never been out west, heck had never been out of New England before joining the army for flight school. The other R. North showed up late. As the flight got close to the destination message had got to the base there and the plane was met with allot of angry faces and armed guards. Turns out the General stated that was one of his best flights stood up for my father and got him transferred from gliders into multi engine.
    So his part of D-Day, he was stationed in the Azores, flew 99 missions of Air recon in a B-25. His assignment there started as special services for the Royal air Corps. Later the US army developed the Army Air Corps Weather Service. He claims to have been the first pilot to fly through a hurricane. That B-25 was trashed due to most every rivet becoming loose.

    As I was growing up and the fact I preferred working on older planes, I had the benefit of many of my elders taking me under their wing, so to speak. Allot of good stories, allot of sad ones too. Allot of great men and women as well.

    I expect had my father not done something wrong and got transferred out of training for a CG-4 one way flight, I would not be writing this.

    My Mother spoke of her father being transferred around the country, at one point she was stenciling the sides of trucks coming out of a factory near Chicago.
    My Grandfather worked his full life for the US Industrial Chemical Corporation. Just that one job. No one ever said what he did.

    Anyone know what that company was? I do now.
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  10. #10

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    Truly Americas heroes

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    There was a celebration at our local airport today. Among the honored guests were a P51 pilot in his mid nineties and a 97 year old man who was on Omaha Beach. The AirPower Museum from FRG had their C47 there and were giving rides Both of those guys went.

    Rich
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    C130jake's Avatar
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    I was lucky enough to participate in the 66th D-Day airdrop. We spent a week in Normandy. My C130 squadron has its legacy back to D-Day.

    We marched in small parades and stood in formation at many small towns and battle sites. We airdropped at Iron Mike DZ next to Sainte-Mère-Église. We saw more American flags than in the US on the 4th.

    The town had a auction to bid on paratroopers and aircrew for dinner to raise money. The old lady who owns the bookstore in Sainte-Mère-Église bid on my engineer, a loadmaster, a couple 82nd paratroopers and myself. After a wonderful meal we chatted about the town, the war, and how big a deal DDay was after 66 years.

    The daughter-in-law acted as interpreter. I asked why they were so generous with their time and money. The old shopkeeper just pointed at her son. She told us her son was born one week after the soldiers came out of the sky and freed them from the Germans. She said her prayers were answered. Then she told us the her greatest reason she loved Americans and America....we left. We came as true liberators and not conquerers. The only time in French history.

    We airdropped on the 5th in a 9 ship of C130s and C160s. We did a flypast of the DZ after to score our drop and then paid our respects to the 10,000+ at the American cemetery. I cannot confirm or deny the 500’ bubble was broken.

    We had the 6th off for sight seeing. We went to the cemetery, several little museums, Point du Hoc, and Pegasus bridge. At the bridge, we met an old British Para who was there. Confirmed he witnessed the bag piper come ashore. He asked if it was us who flew by the cemetery yesterday. We sheepishly admitted it was us not knowing if we were to be in trouble for bumping against the 500’ limit.

    He was ecstatic, good show, good show he told us. He was visiting his mates at the cemetery when we flew over. He then told us how much respect he had for us flyers. He told us of his jump the night of the 5th. Flack every where, bullets coming thru the aircraft on the run in. He said he couldn’t wait to get out of the Dakota. When they got the green light, he said he was lucky to be in the front of the stick because the plane got hit right after he exited and turned into a fireball. Half of his mates never made it out of the plane. I stood there too choked up to speak for a minute. I still get choked up telling this story. We thanked him for his service and sharing his story.

    This is why I painted my Carboncub in the 96th colors in honor of their sacrifice during the war. If you see a C130 on the news tonight with invasion stripes and 6Z on the fuselage, that one is from the 96th.

    That was the best, most emotional, and fun trip in my 31 years in uniform.

    Jake


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    My father jumped out at 02:15 on the 6th, 1st SGT,HQC 2nd Battalion 508 PIR 82nd, I know there are all kinds of times that state officially what times the sticks went out the door 02:00 to 02:45 for the 82nd, I however chose to believe what my father told me, landed off target about 900 meters from target.
    Spent the rest of the day slipping through hedge rows trying to stay alive while rounding up his men.

    Days of fighting to stay alive and fighting Germans.

    He would not talk about it much and I now know why, the memories came back as if everything happened yesterday.
    He would only talk of the few good times that they had, once in a while he would be watching a movie about the war and would comment on some action and then stop, it bothered him to the day he died.
    He passed away in 1998 at the age of 83, He was 29 when he jumped.

    All of those men carry to the grave things that they did not want their children to have to go through or see.
    Be thankful we won that war, it could have gone the other way .

  14. #14
    Scouter's Avatar
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    R Any pix of your dad on d-day? That would be an honor

    jim







    Quote Originally Posted by Kahles56 View Post
    My father jumped out at 02:15 on the 6th, 1st SGT,HQC 2nd Battalion 508 PIR 82nd, I know there are all kinds of times that state officially what times the sticks went out the door 02:00 to 02:45 for the 82nd, I however chose to believe what my father told me, landed off target about 900 meters from target.
    Spent the rest of the day slipping through hedge rows trying to stay alive while rounding up his men.

    Days of fighting to stay alive and fighting Germans.

    He would not talk about it much and I now know why, the memories came back as if everything happened yesterday.
    He would only talk of the few good times that they had, once in a while he would be watching a movie about the war and would comment on some action and then stop, it bothered him to the day he died.
    He passed away in 1998 at the age of 83, He was 29 when he jumped.

    All of those men carry to the grave things that they did not want their children to have to go through or see.
    Be thankful we won that war, it could have gone the other way .
    p

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    Last edited by Cubus Maximus; 06-10-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    My dad (now age 9 was on an LST headed to Normandy Beach on Day 5 when it hit a mine and sank. He came to in time to walk on some planks over to a PT boat, noting that someone had taken his life jacket. He next remembers waking up on a hospital ship, next to a wounded German soldier.

    They returned to England, got refitted with gear and equipment, then returned to Normandy about 3 weeks later. They unloaded and he walked across the beach in the middle of the night, so he said he didn't see any of the carnage on the beach.

    Jim
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    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    ??? He's age ninety eight. Why does a happy face icon come up for the number eight? Tried to fix in above post. No luck

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouter View Post
    R Any pix of your dad on d-day? That would be an honor

    jim







    p
    Yes I have some pictures of him during that time , I will have to figure out how to post them.
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    As this thread mentions paratroopers, I thought I'd add this experience relating to the 82nd Airborne & Op: MARKET GARDEN.

    Back in '06, I was travelling through the Netherlands, exploring the area where my grandfather served as a tank radio repairman with the Sappers and Miners. He spent most of the war supporting the Governor General's Footguards (Armoured). I found a museum just outside of Leiden (Leiden's a small town near Nijmegen) that was in the middle of nowhere. A couple of busloads of kids had just arrived for a tour, so I got lumped in with the group, and we were all shown into a lecture theatre inside the museum.

    A man stepped up to the podium, and told us of being 5 years old, living under occupation, on a farm with his folks and siblings. His family had a strict rule: when you hear airplanes, come inside the house, and stay inside until the planes are gone. But on this particular day, he was sitting at the dinner table, enjoying a meal with his family, and he hears more airplanes than he's ever heard before, louder and lower than he's ever heard before. Against his parents best efforts, he rushes outside.

    Looking up at the sky, he sees hundreds of planes and gliders passing overhead, and the sky turning white with silk parachutes. In his parents fields: gliders and paratroopers are landing. He said they were Americans, from the 82nd Airborne. He described their mood as calm, even relaxed, as they appeared everywhere, as though they'd been hiding in the woods for the past 4 years. His parents farm was at the centre of the drop zone, and the man went on to say that despite MARKET GARDEN not being viewed as a success, he'll always remember that as the day his town was liberated.

    I found it touching that this volunteer was still coming out to the museum to tell kids what it felt like to be liberated, 62 years after the end of the war.

    The museum (if you can find it) features kids wagons with glider control yokes for wheels, photos of local barns with roof patches featuring army air corps rondels, and family heirloom wedding dresses made from parachute silk.

    In North America, we say: "If you love your freedom, thank a vet". If we could ask this elderly Dutch gent, I'm pretty sure he'd say "No, thank the 82nd Airborne".

    As for my Grandfather, he never talked about the war, and I only got a peek at his service record. But I know that when the German defenders saw Canadians coming in their tanks, the enemy burst every dyke they could find, waited for the tanks to get immobilized in muddy fields, then picked them off at their leisure. Gramps must have seen some horrible stuff.
    Last edited by Andy505; 06-12-2019 at 09:19 AM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy505 View Post
    As this thread mentions paratroopers, I thought I'd add this experience relating to the 82nd Airborne & Op: MARKET GARDEN.

    Back in '06, I was travelling through the Netherlands, exploring the area where my grandfather served as a tank radio repairman with the Sappers and Miners. He spent most of the war supporting the Governor General's Footguards (Armoured). I found a museum just outside of Leiden (Leiden's a small town near Nijmegen) that was in the middle of nowhere. A couple of busloads of kids had just arrived for a tour, so I got lumped in with the group, and we were all shown into a lecture theatre inside the museum.

    A man stepped up to the podium, and told us of being 5 years old, living under occupation, on a farm with his folks and siblings. His family had a strict rule: when you hear airplanes, come inside the house, and stay inside until the planes are gone. But on this particular day, he was sitting at the dinner table, enjoying a meal with his family, and he hears more airplanes than he's ever heard before, louder and lower than he's ever heard before. Against his parents best efforts, he rushes outside.

    Looking up at the sky, he sees hundreds of planes and gliders passing overhead, and the sky turning white with silk parachutes. In his parents fields: gliders and paratroopers are landing. He said they were Americans, from the 82nd Airborne. He described their mood as calm, even relaxed, as they appeared everywhere, as though they'd been hiding in the woods for the past 4 years. His parents farm was at the centre of the drop zone, and the man went on to say that despite MARKET GARDEN not being viewed as a success, he'll always remember that as the day his town was liberated.

    I found it touching that this volunteer was still coming out to the museum to tell kids what it felt like to be liberated, 62 years after the end of the war.

    The museum (if you can find it) features kids wagons with glider control yokes for wheels, photos of local barns with roof patches featuring army air corps rondels, and family heirloom wedding dresses made from parachute silk.

    In North America, we say: "If you love your freedom, thank a vet". If we could ask this elderly Dutch gent, I'm pretty sure he'd say "No, thank the 82nd Airborne".

    As for my Grandfather, he never talked about the war, and I only got a peek at his service record. But I know that when the German defenders saw Canadians coming in their tanks, the enemy burst every dyke they could find, waited for the tanks to get immobilized in muddy fields, then picked them off at their leisure. Gramps must have seen some horrible stuff.


    Thanks
    My father, as well made that jump, and later was in the Bulge during that winter.
    the 82nd fulfilled their mission only to later give up what they gained when tactics were changed later in the war.
    If I remember my history correctly , the 82nd was responsible for capturing the bridge at Nijmegen in tact too allow our tanks to cross at a later time.
    The area was liberated and bridge was intact even after a bomb went off under the framework.

    I think it was used for a while until the structure failed from stress a few days later.

    I would have to review some books to be Shure on this.

  21. #21

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    I am going to break out the old photos this weekend and try to post some pictures .

    Ken

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