"The walk" that shouts out to all
looking on, "I am an American Paratrooper, proud to be serving my
Country!" This last moment, also is still photographed in my mind.
A year later, on September 2, 1944, we
lost him forever. We were told by telegram, "there had been an accident in
England." He had survived D-Day and the whole invasion without a scratch,
only to die in an accident? That is all we ever knew until in 1994, when
military historian, Barry Nichols, from Carmichael, California tracked me
His search began when he visited
Normandy on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. When he came to see me, [it]
brought me a fit - Don Jakeway's book, "Paratrooper Do or Die." This book
documents 'the accident.' We finally learned details surrounding Louie's
On August 5, 1999, I received yet
another book titled "The Devil's Tale" - a blow by blow description of the
"Red Devil's" of the 82nd Airborne's experiences in Europe by author Zig
Boroughs, Greenwood, South Carolina, (retired professor Ralph Boroughs
from Lander University). He included a letter explaining he had read,
"Gold Star Mother" and "Last Furlough Home," which had been published in
Madera's book, "From Whence We Came." He asked for my permission to use
some of the contents for the book he was writing, "The 508th Connection."
Proudly, I gave him permission.
He, in turn, contacted surviving
members of I Company for their input. Once that happened, the response
from these men has been awesome. Those contacting me knew Louie well.
Louie walked this early only 20 years, 4 months and 17 days, but the
impact and legacy he left behind has touched countless lives and he has
never been forgotten.
Barry Nichols attended I Company's
(508th Paratrooper Regiment's) 55th reunion in San Diego last year (1999),
where the mere mention of Louie's name caught the attention of all
present. September of '43 to 44', was part of Louie's life we knew very
little about. But it started coming together with stories and
recollections from the men who were close to him during that period of
time in WWII, especially during the invasion of Normandy, Some information
came through Zig Boroughs. Some came directly to me, both by letters and
Once Zig Borough's had located me, I
learned much about our brother Louie the paratrooper and the life he had
experienced during the time our teenaged Louie made his transformation to
the adult Louie.
What I was learning from these
'troopers' touched my heart. They were not surprised when Louie exchanged
duties with Charles Strong that day of the accident. As Louie was always
more comfortable doing physical labor than KP. It was a real shocker to
all when he was killed, Several times I heard, "He was quite a guy, always
doing more than his share."