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ROBERT E.  "EARL"  GIBSON

     In a letter to Jim Blue, Robert E. "Earl" Gibson apparently was responding to questions sent to him by Jim earlier.

15 January 1979

   ... concerning my activities on D-day in Normandy, France. I will try to fill you in, but I am unable to remember all the details with any great clarity. I am not certain as to just where in Normandy I landed. I do recall teaming up with several other troopers and heading in the direction of the railroad that led to Chef du Pont. Before reaching the KB, we came across General Gavin who had assembled several other troopers.  We joined ranks with the General and proceeded along the RR with only light resistance from enemy forces until reaching the Chef du Pont causeway.  As mentioned in your letter, Howard Gouge was the scout on our approach to the causeway.

     Concerning the July 2nd date mentioned in your letter, I do remember being in the position as described by you. Along with me were George Lapso, Joe Boone and R. [Rigoberto] Ledesma. At about 4:00 AM on the stated date, I observed a patrol approaching our position.  Having been advised earlier that one of our patrols would pass through our position at about the stated time, I was not sure if it was ours or a German patrol.  When the patrol was directly in front of us, my challenge was followed by a short silence and then they opened fire with what sounded to me to be a "Burp Gun.

I was struck by a bullet to my right hand and a bullet to the back of my head. Since I was facing the assailants, I have never been able to fully understand how I sustained the shot to the back of my head. Perhaps one member of the patrol was a flank on the other side of the hedgerow to our back, and fired the head shot.  I have also explored the possibility of a ricochet. Apparently they also threw a concussion grenade as X-ray examination of my hand showed minute particles of metal embedded throughout the hand.  Up until about ten years ago, I was constantly bothered by the tiny pieces of metal working out the surface of the skin. 

After being hit my consciousness was somewhat inadequate to function properly.  I can recall dimly hearing one of our LMG's, firing.  I cannot be sure if it was the one manned by Boone or the one manned by you.  I vaguely remember being carried from the area by some very nice troopers, one of whom was Lt. H. [Henry] Lefebvre.  I have always regretted being unable to identify the others who shouldered the burden of carrying me.  This is my last recollection of Normandy. My next awareness was about ten days later as a patient in the l58th General Hospital in England, where I remained for five months.

Blue, The two paragraphs above covers my activity the first and last day in Normandy. A lot went on during the interim, as you know, but what is written above, I am sure you will agree, is enough about me.

Proud to be your friend,            

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