Operation Overlord: 70 Years Later

Subtitle

70th Anniversary of D-Day is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization established solely to honor our brave men who fought in the European Theater during World War II.

Your donations make it possible to transport and accommodate these  WW II Veterans to Normandy, France for this historical occasion.

Ralph Anderson


Anderson was born July 29, 1924, in Aynor and grew up in Georgetown. He was in Gen. George Patton’s Third Army, in the 63th Signal Battalion. He landed on Omaha Beach about two weeks after D-Day and fought in France and the Rhineland. He lives in Columbia.

 

Paul Arnone


Paul Arnone was just 18 years old when he joined the U.S. Navy in December of 1942. He was commissioned to the LST-44. During WW II, LST-44 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion from June 6th to 25th 1944. Following the war, his ship performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until mid-February 1946.

Paul ended his service in November of 1945. His ship was decommissioned on February 20, 1946. August 28, 1947, LST-44 earned one battle star for World War II service.

John Beauford, Sr.


Born and raised in Greenwood, South Carolina, 19 year old John Beauford, Sr. joined the US Army in April of 1943. He served in the 86th Infantry Division and fought in combat in France, Germany and Austria. After the European Axis Powers surrendered to Allied Forces, John received orders for service in the Philippines. At this time, the atomic bombs had already been dropped on Japan so his mission was more of a cleanup project. His service ended in 1946 but John spent the following 18 years protecting the country he loved so much as an Army reservist.


WW II Medals received: Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Medal

Eiba H. Begemann


Eiba Begemann was 18 years old when his service in the US Army began. He left Charleston, South Carolina and headed for basic training. On June 8, 1944, Private First Class Begemann of the 16th Infantry Regiment found himself on Omaha Beach in direct combat with Germany forces. He celebrated his 19th birthday on June 20, after being in France for a couple of weeks. After Normandy was secured, Private Begemann and his unit continued the liberation of occupied Belgium and then fought their way into Germany. As a result of a combat wound, Eiba was honorably discharged October 25, 1945.


WW II Medals received: Silver Star, Purple Heart, France's National Order of the Legion of Honor (the highest military honor award given by France).


Gaetano "Guy" Benza


On Tuesday, June 6, 1944, World War II and the Normandy invasion began with the overnight parachute and glider landings of massive attacks and naval bombardment; and U.S. Army Private, Gaetano “Guy” Benza was there! With a few weeks of new tactics and training leading up to the invasion, the Allied forces conducted a deception operation, Operation Fortitude, aimed at misleading the Germans with respect to the date and place of invasion.

In the early morning, amphibious landing on five beaches, (code names) June, Gold, Omaha, Utah and Sword began and during the evening the remaining elements of the parachute divisions landed. Only ten days of each month were suitable for launching this operation and a day near full moon was needed both for illumination during the hours of darkness and for spring tides. All landings had to be scheduled for low tide entry.

Operation Neptune, which was the assault phase, began on D-day, June 6, 1944 and ended on June 30, 1944. By this time, the Allied Forces had established a firm foothold in Normandy.

After Guy’s military career, he worked for many years as a barber at Nellis AFB where patrons were regaled with stories of his past. Guy also does speaking engagements in Las Vegas, Nevada upon request.

In honor of Guy’s heroic actions during the landings and invasion of Normandy Beach on June 6, 1944, the French consulate recently notified him that he was chosen to be the recipient of the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War).

Vernon Brantley


From December, 1944 through January 1945, 20 year old Vernon Brantley’s unit, the 75th Army Infantry, faced combat with German forces in densely forested Belgium, France and Germany. This German offensive campaign is known as “The Battle of the Bulge”. Allied forces were surprised by the attack of the German forces. This battle was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the US in WW II. It was also the costliest battle in terms of US causalities because American forces bore the brunt of the attack. Vernon was one of 610,000 American men involved. 89,000 American soldiers were causalities, including 19,000 killed. Vernon was wounded in combat during The Battle of the Bulge on January 5, 1945. After six weeks of recuperation, Vernon requested to be sent back to his unit instead of stateside. Vernon completed his military service in Europe January 1946.


WW II Medals received: Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, E.T.O. Ribbon with 3 Battle Stars

Joe Champey


Joe Champey was born in June, 1924, in Eastover, South Carolina. During WW II, Joe was aboard the LCT 207 which was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater. His ship was part of the invasion of Normandy, France, June 6th to 25th, 1944 and Sicilian occupation July 9th to 15th, 1943.  The LCT 207 earned two battle stars for WW II service.

John Cummer


John Cummer was born in Tennessee October 12, 1924. He was a Gunner's Mate on the LCI 502 and made multiple trips between England and Normandy, France. John has documented his account of landing British troops on Gold Beach during the D-day invasion based on his recollections and the Deck Log of USS LCI 502. John currently resides in Blythewood, South Carolina.


Please click here to read John Cummer's personal account of landing British troops on Gold Beach.


Anthony Di Bartolomeo, Sr.


Anthony DiBartolomeo, Sr. can boast that he is South Carolina’s oldest living WW II veteran! Born and raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he joined the Army Air Corp on December 2, 1942. He was with the 8th Air Force, attached to the 9th Air Force, and fought on Normandy Beach during the D-Day invasion. Anthony states in his written experience, “I was scared as hell but it was very interesting and everything turned out well. I couldn’t believe I was involved in something like this.” He followed General Patton through France and into Germany.  Waiting in Lyone, France, to be shipped by boat to the Pacific Theater, they are advised over loud speakers that the war with Japan had ended. Anthony returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged November 10, 1945.


Clifford Dill


Clifford Dill was a part of the 331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Division. The following information was found on http://www.ncweb.com/users/davecurry/brothers/

"The 83rd entered France on the 21st through 24th of June 1944. They landed across Omaha Beach and from there, they fought all across Europe. The men of the 83rd Division weren't just on the front line. Most of the time they were in the center of the front line, and often out in front leading the way. They not only fought in Normandy and Brittany, but liberated Luxembourg. They fought in the Ardennes, facing the point of the German Bulge. They fought in the Rhineland, and were the first to reach the Rhine. They literally raced across the rest of Germany, covering 280 miles in 13 days and were within 60 miles of Berlin when they were ordered to stop."

John Anthony Fogle


John Fogle was born in Neeses, South Carolina, on the 13th of June, 1924. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and during WW II was assigned to the 90th Infantry Division, nicknamed "Tough 'Ombres". His division landed on Utah Beach and fought their way through Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, and Central Europe (including combat action in the Battle of the Bulge).

John Gatton, Jr.


John Gatton, Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky, January 23, 1923. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in February of 1924 and served with the 96th Unit. While preparing for D-Day in England, John was stationed at novelist Agatha Christie's house, Greenway, which was used as a Naval headquarters during WW II. Still visible today are the canvas paintings on the walls of the library created by one of the Lieutenants. The story goes that after the war, the British commissioned to restore her home to it's original state but Christie requested the canvas to remain to serve as a reminder. Throughout the D-Day invasion, John's unit was responsible for transporting engineers from the naval ship to the beach. John shared with us the conditions of the transport and noted that many of the engineers were seasick due to the rough water conditions.

Charles "Floyd" Hailey, Jr.


Floyd Hailey is a Rock Hill, South Carolina, native. He was 16 years old when he enlisted in the US Navy. He was assigned to the LST-315 for the Normandy Invasion. Floyd's unit, nicknamed "Foxy", made 6 trips between France and England. They had dual mission: to transport supplies from the ship to the beach. Upon their return to the ship they retrieved the wounded and returned them to the ship for medical treatment.


Joseph Jackson


Jackson was born in Chester on Nov. 29, 1925 and spent much of his boyhood in Pelzer. He was drafted into the Navy on Feb. 25 1944 and was stationed aboard the destroyer USS Davis as a bosun’s mate. His ship shelled Omaha beach on D-Day. He lives in Newberry. 

Fred Jones


Jones was born June 12, 1922, in Pelham and grew up in Greenville County. He enlisted in the Army on Dec. 7, 1942 – exactly one year after Pearl Harbor – and served in the Army Signal Corps. He landed on Omaha Beach three days after D-Day. He fought in France, Luxembourg and Germany and was awarded five Bronze stars. He lives in Taylors. 

Leif Maseng


Leif Maseng was born in Chicago, Illinois, August 17, 1924. He enlisted in the US military and was assigned to the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. His unit jumped into Normandy, France as part of the D-Day Invasion and continued to fight at the Battle of the Bulge, through Belgium and into Luxembourg. Leif resides in Columbia, South Carolina. Click the following links to hear stories about the war told by Leif, himself...


http://vimeo.com/34024616


http://vimeo.com/30671451

Curtis Outen


Curtis Outen was born in Chesterfield, South Carolina on the 16th day of September, 1921. He enlisted in the US Army on September 16, 1942. Curtis landed on Omaha Beach June, 1944, as an army infantry fighter.

Winston Pownall


Pownall, of West Columbia, was born Sept. 22, 1919 in Donnelson, Ill. He joined the Army in April 1941, landed on Utah beach on D-Day plus 6 and served as a combat engineer.


Marion "Red" Smith


Red Smith was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, on April 11, 1924. Two months shy of his 19th birthday he joined the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 84th Infantry Division and headed overseas in August 1944. Red arrived in England in September, 1944. October, 1944, he crossed the channel and unloaded on Omaha Beach and walked to Paris. Red saw his first day of combat in November, 1944. While his vehicle was crossing a river an artillery shell hit his window and he was wounded, though he did not seek medical attention. Red resides in Lexington, South Carolina.

Theron "Ted" Teagle


Teagle was born March 19, 1928, in Cordele, Ga., and grew up in Rock Hill. He joined the Navy at age 15 and served on a destroyer escort in the Atlantic and on a destroyer in the Pacific. During D-Day his ship swept the west coast of France for submarines. He lives in Columbia.

Bill Watson


Story Coming Soon

Joe Watson


Watson was born in Ridge Spring on April 4, 1923. He attended Clemson, then a military college and joined the Amy Reserve. He was called up in 1943, went overseas in Nov. 1944 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge and through Germany. He was wounded, and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He still lives in Ridge Spring.

Gerald White


White was born in 1926 in Elmira N.Y. and grew up to Lodi, N.Y. He was drafted in August 1944 and served in 2nd Infantry Division. He fought in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge and through Germany into Czechoslovakia. He was wounded in Germany, but never got the Purple Heart because of a mix up. He lives in Columbia.