19940620 - Grandad - Stars & Stripes D-Day article - arrived 20 minutes after first wave - (public version) -
Another D-Day 50th anniversary article about my grandfather.
[PARTIAL ARTICLE TEXT:]
"...ers at the base of the monument to Eisenhower.
After the ceremony, camp survivors and others fielded questions from reporters about their experiences a half-century ago.
Maurice Bake, a 19-year-old internee at Auschwitz on 6 June, 1944, recalled that the camp immediately knew of the allied invasion and that the landings infused them with hope. Bake, who had been transferred to Dachau for extermination when he was liberated, looked at William Gay, a 4th Division veteran of the first wave at Normandy, and sayd, "He was our liberator--that should tell you everything."
Asked what the 50th anniversary of D-Day meant to him, Alan G. Cornett, of the 90th Division, said, "It brings back a lot of memories, some pleasant but many more unpleasant."
The memory that does stick in his mind is the 40 percent casualties his outfit had sustained by D-Day plus six. Cornett was wounded 11 Dec., 1944 and missed liberating the death camps.
James B. L[REDACTED], a 1st Division lieutenant, landed 20 minutes after the initial wave at Normandy to "utter chaos" and the deaths of 35 men in his 102-man landing craft. He survived by going over the side of the LCM rather than off the ramp, which was enfiladed by German machine guns. Though pinned down for two hours, [Grandad] said his men, veterans of North Africa and Sicily, didn't panic.
"Their job was to get inland and that's what they did," said [Grandad], who remains haunted by the one-third casualties his regiment took within the first two to three hours.
[Grandad] later married Ronny, a Polish Jew interned in 1942 who escaped her captors as the Americans approached. The two met when the Army hired her as a translator and they have been married 47 years. She was on hand for the ceremony.
"We had no idea those camps were there," said [Grandad] [name mis-spelled despite being fine 4 times prior] of the allie's inland push. "I didn't get the first brush with the camps. Luckily I was in the rear.""
Stars And Stripes, concentration camp, newspaper article, prisoners.
black and white. from Dad.
June 20, 1994.
... Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
James Bernard L, my grandfather (dad's dad). Born 2/18/1922 in Fairmont, WV. Died 12/18/2001 in Arlington, VA.
Son of James and Minnie
Husband of Maria Clara ("Ronnie")
Father of Victor (dad)
Brother of Arnold Ray, Lena May and Charles
James Bernard L was a long-serving member of the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, and its Association. He joined the National Guard in 1936, then the 16th Infantry in 1940 at Fort Jay, New York. In the Allied landings in Africa in November, 1942, he was the Regimental Sergeant Major. He fought in Sicily and later, in the Normandy Invasion, as a Warrant Officer under General Omar Bradley. He continued with the 16th Infantry through France, the Battle of the Bulge, Germany and Czechoslovakia, earning a Silver Star.
After the war, he served at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, Ft. Sam Houstin in San Antonio, TX, and the Adjutant Generals School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, where he retired in 1960 as a CWO-4.
James then became one of the strongest supporters of the Regimental Association, writing many articles and booklets produced by the Association, and was a contributor, editor, and participant in the production of the recent volume of the regiment's history, "Blood and Sacrifice."
James was also an avid flag collector and member of NAVA, and a longtime philatelist.