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Up Brody Hand (2) Brody Hand (3) Brody Hand (4) Brody Hand (5) Brody Hand (6) Brody Hand (7)
BRODY HAND (2 of 7)

I got to worrying about my concussion caps that were on the same ankle with my first aid kit, so I took it loose and put it over on the other ankle. I got to thinking about it later, and said, "If those 14 concussion caps go off with me and all that other stuff, well, I won't need that first aid kit. That's just extra."

To get to where we were jumping, the 82nd was jumping back of the beach to the landing area and the 101st was jumping to the North of the area, up close. They were jumping up closer to the beach than we were. Our mission was to seal off the bridges on the Douve and the Merderet Rivers. There were one or two other little streams, but those were the major rivers that run East and West across the peninsula. Where we were jumping was out on the peninsula and North of Cherbourg, which was a big shipping center and port that the Allies had to have to be able to get all their supplies in, to be able to supply all the people that was coming ashore later on. They had to have at least one major port. To get to where we were going, we had to go in a roundabout way. The Germans always thought we were coming straight across, coming the shortest route, and they encouraged the Germans to think that. But actually it didn't make any difference to us whether we went the short or long way. But we went the long route and came back across the peninsula. We were actually headed back toward England and to the beaches when we jumped. Just as we made all of our contacts and headed back across the peninsula, the planes all ran into a big fog bank. Everybody lost their way. We flew three planes abreast. You could see each other at night up there. You could see the wings of the other planes on either side of you. It was moonlight until we hit the fog. It wasn't a problem keeping up with each other at that time. But as soon as we hit the fog, the planes on each side peeled off. The one on the left went to the left, the one on the right, to the right. The center one kept going straight. Of course, they were doing that to keep from running into each other and having problems. The plane I was in was on the right hand side and it peeled off to the right. We'd had trouble coming over and we'd already dropped all our wire and extra demolitions. We had to drop them in the channel, before we got there, because our engines were running hot and we were losing altitude too quickly. We weren't staying as high as we wanted to be. So the plane I was on peeled off to the right and that threw us way out from where we should have been. We jumped at night, but it was pretty well lit up, like the Fourth of July. It was kind of like being in White's Park when they have a celebration. There was stuff going on all the time up in the air and you could see the ground and a lot of the things around.

France
When the red light came on, everybody stood up, hooked up, and checked everybody else. You always checked the man in front of you to see if everything was right. Then when the green light came on, we all took out. We weren't very high up, probably 600 feet or so at the most, because as soon as I felt the shock of the chute opening, boom, I was on top of the trees and down on the ground, which was good because nobody wants to be in the air long. I landed right outside of a little town. Lieutenant Bell was the first one out the door. He landed in town with a couple of other guys. One was called Dego, from New York, and I forget the other guy's name now. They landed in the edge of town and I was about in the middle of the stick behind the machine gun squad that was attached to us. Being in the demolitions, they didn't want us jumping out blowing everybody up.

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