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Lt Col Thomas J. B. Shanley

Lt Col Shanley qualified as a jumper in August 1941.

When Col Roy Lindquist formed the 508th, Shanley held the rank of captain and was on the staff as S-2 (intelligence)

By June 1943 he was promoted to Lt Col, and given command of the 2nd Battalion.

He led the 2nd Battalion through manoeuvres and then overseas for the Normandy invasion.

When he and his men jumped out over Normandy, heavy flak and poor visibility scattered the paratroopers over a wide area.

When Lt Col Shanley hit the ground, there were only a few of his own men near him.

German forces were closing in fast.

Gathering what troops and equipment he could find, he formed a provisional Battalion consisting of personnel from other units and moved into a defensive position on a hill to be called Hill 30.

On Hill 30 was fought one of the unsung, but epic engagements of the Normandy invasion.

German troops, rushing to repulse the beach landings found their progress stopped by paratroopers on Hill 30. To reach nearby areas of the beach, it was necessary for the Germans to clear Hill 30 as rapidly as possible.

Attack after attack was sent against Shanley and his men, and each time the Germans were pushed back with severe losses. This provisional unit remained on Hill 30 blocking the path of German forces. They captured 14 tanks, 775 vehicles and huge stores of critical supplies.

Many historians credited Lt Col Shanley's defiant stand on Hill 30 as being one of the major reasons for the overall success of the American Airborne effort in Normandy.

Lt Col Shanley passed away on 10th January, 2004.

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