Imagine me writing an adventure story for The Sunshine Monthly! A true story of my own adventures in the war. Over in France!
Gee, it only seems a little while ago that I was helping run the press that prints The Sunshine here at Home. And writing up some of the items
that went in it.
Well, in the first place, I’m very lucky to be here to tell this story, as you will see. I’m grateful, too, to a mighty watchful Providence for seeing me safely through.
D-Day for those who took part in it came as no surprise. We had been bivouacked in readiness for the Invasion for about a week. About 6:00 P. M. on June 4th, we were given the order to ready our equipment and report for Briefing. Actually, it was a relief. Believe me, after you've gone through the rigorous training given Paratroopers, you are glad to get into actual combat.
Our Officers knew exactly where each of us was to go, exactly what we were to do, and the exact time to the split second we were to go into action. Previously, we had been drilled with maps which detailed the entire area of our operations. I even knew in advance about the tree which was so nearly fatal to me, though it was several hundred miles away in the inland of Normandy.
We oiled our guns, inspected our ’chutes, checked our rations, ammunition, and medical supplies. Then we dressed for battle. And waited. About 10:00 P M. the order came to take off our battle clothes and stand by for further orders. The weatherman had thrown us a curve. D-Day was postponed.
The next evening, June 5th, we were again ordered to make ready for battle, and this time it went through on schedule. We re-oiled our guns, re-checked everything, were re-briefed and given our final “pep talk” by our Commanding Officer. No oratory. Just a last word to men who had a job to do and already knew how important it was that the job be well done. There was no confusion. No hurry. The C.O. had told us there would be no inspection as had always been customary on training flights. He said each man was on his own, knew his assignment, knew how important it was to the entire operation that he do his part. And it was up to him to do it.
As the final act before the take-off, we blacked our hands and faces. Looked like we were going on the stage. So we were. Going on the stage to enact one o! the greatest dramas in all history, the Invasion of Fortress Europe.
There were no formalities about our take-off. We just filed in and away we went. Just like going after the mail. I was in charge of the Radio section of the Communications Division and my assignment was to locate, gather and distribute ammunitions and supplies when we landed. These supplies were to be dropped ahead of us by our supply planes at pre-determined points.
A FLOATING CITY
Soon we were over the Channel. I remember looking out the window, and back. In the bright moonlight our planes looked like a floating city. It was a beautiful sight. The joke-telling which had been the order of
the day before take-off time had quieted down now. A tenseness was growing. The fact that “This is it” was sinking in,
and we all were realizing that we were about to “play for keeps” with