At 2.00 a.m. on
June 6th 1944, 1st Lt Robert Mason Mathias and 16
men in his command were in the darkness of a C.47 plane. He was the leader
of the 2nd platoon, E Company, 508 P.I.R.
When he saw the red
light come on, he shouted, "Stand up and hook up."
bullets tearing through the plane, the men were shouting; "Lets go!"
But it was Lt
Mathias duty to wait and to keep his hands on the doorway ready to propel
himself into the night the instant the green light came on.
Suddenly a shell
burst went off beside him.
Red-hot flak ripped
into his reserve chute and into his chest.
It knocked him off
his feet, and with all the strength he had, he began to pull himself back
Then the green
light came on.
streaming from his body, he raised his right arm and called out, "Follow
me," and he leaped out into the night.
Lt Robert M.
Mathias died in his chute and has been documented as being the first
American officer to have been killed on D-DAY.