“I got some of the shrapnel — it hit my back and I landed right on my face. I fell down in the sand and thought I was dead,” Lt. Sid Salomon recalled of D-Day. “Right then and there, I said to myself that I wasn’t going to die…We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the cliff.”
Today, June 6, is the 79th anniversary of the fateful Allied D-Day landings in Normandy that spelled the beginning of the end for the Nazis. In memory of the thousands of Army and Marine heroes who fought and died that day, I want to highlight six men who stormed the beaches that famous 1944 day: Ellis “Bill” Reed, Woody Doorman, Lt. Dawson, Ray Alm, Lt. Sid Salomon, and John Paul “Jack” Corley.
“We could see the action from the landing craft as we came in,” 5th Ranger Battalion’s Ellis “Bill” Reed remembered. “There was a tremendous amount of firepower coming from both flanks. Machine gun fire and artillery fire was pouring in.” Reed and Doorman’s job was to torpedo a hole in the concertina wire to allow other men an egress, which they did successfully under heavy fire.
”They wiped out almost the entire 116th Infantry Regiment; they just murdered them,” Alm said.
Jack Corley was an Army engineer with the 5th Engineer Special Brigade, and on D-Day it was his dangerous and unenviable job to disarm the land mines that the Germans had placed on Omaha Beach. That was after they had to fight up the beach a mile from the wrong landing spot.
Come hell, Nazis, or high water, the Rangers and other Army soldiers were determined to finish their mission.
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