101st and Troop Carrier Biographies
Colonel Edward Shames, 101st Airborne, 506 PIR.
In September 1942, Shames joined the army volunteering for paratroopers. He was sent to Toccoa, Georgia, for training. He started as a private for I Company, Third Battalion of the 506th Regiment, later promoted to Operations Sergeant in England. Prior to the paratroopers making their jump on D-Day, he built the sand tables the airborne unit used in planning the airdrop into Normandy. Shames made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. "I remember a C-47 fell out of the sky right in front of the door. They completely scattered us. I jumped in 10 km from the place that was planned and ended in the barn of a factory with milk, with cows. I did not know where I was while I was supposed to know everything. I had to find my group of 18 men and go towards our objective which were two bridges. We had the mission to hold these bridges to prevent the Germans from bringing reinforcements on the beaches of landings.
On 13 June 1944, Shames was made lieutenant, although the formal commission was only completed in England. He was the first NCO in the Third Battalion to receive battlefield commission in Normandy the same day as he was selected to be first sergeant he was selected to be a lieutenant. After his promotion to he was transferred to Easy Company as a second lieutenant and took charge of it's third platoon.
Shames fought with Easy Company "Band of Brothers" in Operation Market Garden and he volunteered for Operation Pegasus led by Frederick Moose Heyliger. He was wounded once in his left leg during the campaigns. Shames fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. In Foy, Shames and Paul Rogers knocked out a German tank with a bazooka. Partly Jewish, Shames saw the concentration camps while in Germany and was deeply affected. After World War II, Shames made Colonel in the Reserves.
Ian Gardner and Roger Day have written a book about the Ed Shames and the men of 3rd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment from Tocca to D-Day titled: Tonight We Die As Men.
William Guarnere 101st Airborne 506 PIR.
Born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April 28, 1923, to Italian parents Joseph and Augusta Guarnere, one of eleven children. He attended Citizens Military Training Camp for three summers - (took 4 years to complete). His mother had lied to the owners, saying Guarnere was 17, when he was actually 15. Camp was cancelled when war broke out in Europe. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he found work as a Sherman Tank maker, at Baldwin Locomotive Works. However, his mom wasn't happy that he hadn't finished high school, especially since none of his other siblings did, so he returned, and graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1942.
He enlisted in the US Army in August 31, placed in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, assigned to the Mortar Squad of 2nd Platoon. He went through rough training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, under Captain Herbert Sobel. After training at Camp Mackall, he and the 101st went to Aldbourne, England to await their next mission. In Upottery, England, the night before the invasion of Normandy, Guarnere found out his brother was killed at Monte Casino, Italy. He made a parachute drop on D-day, was separated from his company, eventually successfully regrouping with the rest of the company. They encountered a German patrol and ambushed it. Guarnere participated in the Brecourt Manor Assault, and fought at Carentan.
He fought during Operation Market Garden. He helped drag wounded Lt. Compton to safety at the town of Nuenen. He later gathered a group of men to attempt to find the missing Sergeant Denver "Bull" Randleman. They found him, and Guarnere said, "I don't know whether to slap ya, kiss ya, or salute ya. I told these scallywags you was okay."
When Guarnere was taking a joyride on a stolen motorcycle, he was hit in the leg by a sniper. He went AWOL from the hospital to get back to Easy Company, but was caught and busted to Private. He told them he would keep going AWOL until he'd be allowed to return.
He returned to Easy Company, was again made Staff Sergeant, and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. At Bastogne, Guarnere claimed that because of the cold, he was "pissing needles." During a German bombardment, Joe Toye had his leg blasted off, and Bill tried dragging him to safety, only to have his leg mangled in another shell attack. As they were taking him away, he said to Joe Toye as they were bandaging him up, "I told you I'd make it to the States first." He had to have his leg amputated. He received the Purple Heart and went home.
After the war, he got many jobs as a salesman, a clerk, and a carpenter. He eventually married a woman named Frances (Frannie), and got two sons. He wore an artificial leg, before throwing it away after retiring. He and Private Heffron wrote a joint memoir, Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story, which described their combat experiences.
He would be interviewed about the war for the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. He still lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Guy Whidden 101st Airborne 502 PIR.
Born in Wyncote, PA (near Philadelphia). His father is Rendol and his mother is Myrtle Whidden.
Guy Whidden was a paratrooper in HQ Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in World War 2. Guy was a machine gunner and jumped into Normandy in the early hours of June 6, 1944. Guy also jumped into Holland during operation Market Garden in September, 1944. He was severely wounded near Best during a mortar attack; three of his best friends were killed by the same mortar. Guy was still recovering in a hospital when the Battle of the Bulge happened. After his recovery, he was sent back to Fort Benning, becoming a jump school instructor.
Guy has written a book about his WWII experiences titled: Between the Lines and Beyond. This book recounts his time served in World War II through letters written home to his mother. As the title suggests, Guy's censored letters often forced his family to read "between the lines" to figure out the many subtle messages he was sending. Through these letters and Guy's narrative, we relive many of his experiences: Army training and the voyage to England on the S.S. Strathnaver; his historic jumps into Normandy on D-Day and into Holland during Operation Market Garden; and being seriously wounded by a German mortar shell that killed three of his friends...nearly causing his own leg to be amputated. These letters show the progression of a young man as he grew in maturity and the resilience of the true and honorable soldier that emerged.
This book gives a realistic and yet lighthearted look at what Guy went through during that period of his life so many years ago. But it does not stop there. Guy is still busy! An epilogue relates his activities since WWII including his "re-jump" into Normandy in 1994.
Leeman R. Pegram (Ray) 9th Army Air Corps, 434 Troop Carrier Group, 71st Troop Carrier Squadron.
An Aerial Radio Operator crew member of the Sqn. Commander, Major Glenn Mann, lead plane for all operations. Stationed in England and France on D-Day, on June 6th just after midnight his aircraft dropped a stick of 101st Pathfinders who marked the drop zones for the other planes following. Returning to England, they made two more trips to Normandy that night dropping more 101st paratroopers. His plane towed in 3 sets of glider drops the next day. On D+3 his aircraft made 8 missions for supply and evacuation of wounded, landing on Omaha beach when the tide was out. "The Engineers had laid pierced steel planking on the beach so we could land at low tide. We took in supplies and carried out wounded American and German POW's".
On September 17th and 18th, 1944, his plane again dropped 101st paratroopers, this time into Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. From the 19th to the 30th his plane made a re-supply drop each day for the 101st fighting around Sojn, Holland.
During the Battle of the Bulge, Ray's aircraft made several supply drops to the beleaguered soldiers at Bastogne. General Patton's army was racing toward the front to help relieve the battered soldiers of the Bulge and needed gasoline to keep going. There were numerous supply and fuel trips into France made to Patton's 3rd Army landing in pastures if no other suitable place was available.
The largest airborne drop of the war came on March 24, 1944, at Operation Varsity across the Rhine, carrying 17th Airborne paratroopers into battle.
As the war wound down, there continued to be numerous flights into Germany carrying out wounded and liberated POWs.
Ray landed back home at Savannah, GA, July 1, 1945 and was discharged on September 2, 1945.
Charlie Vess 101st Airborne 501 PIR.
Born in 1922 in Rutherford County, NC, Charlie enlisted in the army and volunteered for Airborne school. Assigned to the 101st Airborne he was posted to Headquarters S-4, achieving the rank of Master Sergeant. On June 6th he jumped from his plane, landing in water. Cutting himself free, he vividly remembers "the legs of drown paratroopers sticking up in the air because of the gas mask bags". He found four others from his stick, and by daylight "the scrimmage got pretty hot".
In September he jumped into Holland and was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge receiving a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
A "9th grade dropout" as he called it "because that's as far as we could go " he passed the bar exam but never practiced law, instead taking a job after the war with Firestone Rubber Company in Africa. Later he moved to work for the Western Auto Company in Kansas City, KS. He loved to travel to many different places like Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Turkey, South America Alaska and the Panama Canal.
Raymond Geddes 101st Airborne 501 PIR.
About a week before D-Day they moved us from the town of Lamborne to Welford Airdrome, where we would remain until the start of the invasion. Once again hooked up with the 435th Troop Carrier Group, an outfit that we had worked with before, both in England and back in North Carolina in 1943.
On June 5th we marched out to the tarmac to board the planes. One thing stands out in my memory - our Regimental Commander, Colonel Howard R. (Jumpy) Johnson, formed us up and made his famous "knife in the back of the blackest German" speech that you can read about in the history books. Then he did something else that I will never forget. We walked past him and he shook the hand of every man in the battalion! After the Colonel's speech we put all of our equipment on and were helped into the C-47's by Air Corps guys. My platoon had been assigned to the 77th Squadron, and one of my friends on the plane, S/Sgt. Jack Urbank, actually knew the pilot, a Lt. Harrison, from previous jumps he had made with the 77th. Like the others, I had a hell of a time getting into the plane as I was loaded down with my two parachutes, four or five grenades, a full cartridge belt of ammo, a SCR536 radio, a M-1 Garand rifle in a Griswold bag, musette bag, canteen, gas mask, first aid pouch, entrenching tool, bayonet, and heaven knows what else. They also made us wear, in addition to GI shorts, long underwear and OD's under the impregnated jump suit. Needless to say it was very difficult to move!
The flight over to France was uneventful. It was dark and it took about two hours. I looked out the window once and saw a red light down there somewhere. Then someone said, "We are over land!" I looked out the door. It was sort of moonlit haze. Shortly thereafter the red light came on and the drill started - "Stand up! Hook up!" etc. Then the plane started to bounce around in a manner which I had never experienced before. We also began to hear explosions and what sounded like hail hitting the plane. We heard a loud explosion at the same time as a large flash of light. One of the planes in our group had gone up in a giant explosion. Someone called out, "Look, those guys are on fire!" I leaned over and looked out the left windows and could see bits of flaming wreckage as the plane next to us also began to go down. I saw tracers from anti-aircraft fire all over the sky, and I realized that the "hail" hitting the plane was flak. Along with others I began to yell to our jump master, "Let's get the hell out of here!" - or words to that effect. Then our plane went into a dive and we tried to keep from falling down. The plane leveled out just above the ground. I don't remember what happened next, but I learned later from Sgt, Don Castona, that the pilot had passed on the message for our jumpmaster, Lt. Barker, to come up to the front of the plane. During the time Barker was in the cockpit Castona noticed that the plane had changed course. I remember that we began climbing and, suddenly, the green light came on.
Immediately the line started out the door and we jumped. We were going fast and the opening shock was terrific! I remember seeing a farmhouse below and then I was on the ground. My harness was so tight I couldn't get myself free. Cows were all around me as I reached for the knife attached to my boot. It was gone, pulled loose when the chute opened. I finally got hold of my jump knife, which I had stored in a pocket in my jacket, and destroyed government property by cutting myself out of the harness. I stood up and checked my radio operator's watch, which I noticed had stopped, from the opening shock, at exactly 1:25 AM. (I still have the watch.)
I was very glad to see that I had not lost my M-1 rifle, stored in its Griswold bag. I assembled the rifle and moved off, trying to find someone. There was noise coming from every direction, planes overhead and shooting on the ground, but I was totally alone. Finally, in the moonlight, I saw some helmets. I gave one click on the 101st recognition signal (a toy cricket) and waited for the reply of two clicks. There was no reply. I tried again. Still no answer. I was reaching for a grenade when, thank God, I saw the shape of the helmets. I called out and found that the soldiers were men from my company. They told me they never heard the cricket. I found out later that we had landed in the center of Drop Zone "C", exactly where we were supposed to be (near Hiesville), one of the few units in the whole US Airborne to make that statement. (Fifty five years later I learned that our pilot, Lt. Harrison, had saved our lives by diving away from the anti-aircraft fire that shot down the other two planes in our flight. He flew past the DZ and then, after talking to Lt. Barker, he turned 180 degrees and dropped us in the middle of the DZ going the wrong way. He deserved a medal, and he got it, but it took 60 years, and that's another story.)
I have only a few memories of events between the time I joined up with G Company and sunrise. I remember how beautiful the German tracers looked as they flew into the sky looking for targets. I watched a plane explode. I also remember that I fell into a ditch and found it was full of dead soldiers - I still don't know if they were Germans or Americans. One thing I do remember is that at dawn, when I could see, I took my trusty jump knife and dropped my trousers so I could cut off those damn hot GI long johns.
June 8th turned out to be my last day in combat in WWII and my last day with G/501. Our battalion had been released from our assignment with 101st HQ and was part of an attack towards St. Come-du-Mont. The attack started at dawn. Later in the morning I received my first wound of the day, in the leg, from an artillery shell. I also picked up a replacement for my ruined watch. When I got to England they operated on my eye. Several weeks later I was on my way back to the US by airplane, in one of the first groups of D-Day wounded to be sent home.
When I arrived at Mitchell Field, on Long Island, I was told that I could take the weekend off and return to the hospital on Monday morning. I used that ten dollar bill from the butt of my rifle to buy a train ticket to Baltimore and be with my family.
82nd Veteran Biographies
Colonel Spencer Wurst 82nd Airborne 505 PIR.
Joined the Pennsylvania National Guard at the age of 15 before the war. When the war began, he quit school at the age of 16, serving with the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Division. "If I had to soldier, I wanted to soldier with an elite unit. I put in a request for OCS and the parachute troops simultaneously, saying I would take the first one that came in and the parachute transfer came first. At the time the requirements were quite rigid, physically and mentally". I made 18 jumps in all, three combat jumps Salerno, Normandy and Holland. It wasn't until the seventh or eighth jump that I finally landed with the plane instead of jumping out.
On June 6th Spencer was assigned to 2nd Battalion 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment. He recalls, "The jump was the start of a bad day. We were flying much too fast and much too high and I had a terrible opening shock and lost my musette bag. I was under fire from the second that my chute opened until I hit the ground. Tracers were going through the chute. We jumped at 2,200 feet instead of the planned 600 to 800 feet, so I was under fire for a lot longer than I should have been. When I hit the ground, the landing was really bad. I crawled over to a hedgerow, pulled my pistol out and laid it beside me, then started to get out of my chute. When I looked around, there where planes going every which way. That's when I knew things were all fouled up".
"As I moved into the battalion assembly area, one of the first things I saw was Colonel Vandervoort leaning on his rifle and you could see he was hurting a lot, because he had broken his leg landing. The medic bandaged it very tight so he could continue on duty."
"We entered the outskirts of St. Mere Eglise and came upon a frightful sight of our friends hanging in the trees and wires around the town square. They had been shot and killed getting out of their chutes. One was a friend of mine, Sergeant Big Ray, the mortar squad leader in the 2nd platoon. Underneath his body was a great big typical specimen of a German soldier. It appeared Ray had gotten him before he died. My squad was given the defensive position just outside of a large stone wall that formed the back of the cemetery. We had some of the heaviest fire that we encountered in the whole war. The Germans knew we held St. Mere Eglise and used a lot of artillery on the target area and didn't give us any peace for most of the day and well into the night."
"After we got organized, I took a patrol out to recover the bodies that were hanging from the trees, wires and poles. I was told to try to get them down, but don't get into heavy fighting to get them. Seeing them hung like that affected me. It was a very, very bad sight and bad for the morale of the rest of the troops. If memory serves, we had at least nine bodies that we laid out in the cemetery wrapped in parachutes. We couldn't bury them because they had to be buried officially by Graves Registration Unit."
"Somewhere around midnight we were taking heavy mortar and artillery fire. I heard one coming in, misjudged the distance and didn't get all the way down. It exploded closer than I expected and caught me in the left shoulder, spinning me around and dropped me in the hole. I grabbed my shoulder and couldn't feel it! It was dark and I wondered if it had taken off my shoulder."
"As it tuned out it didn't go too deep. The medic got it out and gave me a shot of morphine then sulfa powder and bandaged it. I didn't go to the aide station, instead went to the wall, laid down and went to sleep. The morphine and shock put me out. When I woke up in the morning, I resumed my duties."
Colonel Wurst earned two Purple Hearts in Normandy and a Silver Star for his role in the battle of the Highway Bridge in Nijmegen, Holland. He is also featured in Cornelius Ryan's book, A Bridge Too Far. His memoir of WWII combat with the 82nd Airborne titled Descending From the Clouds, covers his entire war experiences. After the war, he returned to Erie and the 112th Regiment 28th Infantry Division where he enjoyed a successful career as a Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Regimental S-3 and finally Commander. Retiring as a Colonel in 1975, his 35 years of active duty include two years as a Tank Company Commander in one of the first four American Divisions of NATO. In 1990, he was named a " Distinguished Member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment" by the Secretary of the Army. He was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame at Ft. Benning in 2000.
Colonel Wurst's combat decorations include: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Two Purple Hearts one Silver Campaign Star (5 Campaigns) and two Presidential Unit Citations.
In the photographs below, top row, third from the left there are four paratroopers from the 505th Company F. just days prior to the invasion. From left to right: John Ray, Phillip Lynch, John Steele and Vernon Francisco. John Steele is the man whose parachute was caught on the church steeple in St. Mere Eglise. The other three men were KIA. Spencer Wurst was a squad leader in Company F. 505 PIR.
Chet Harrington 82nd Airborne 505 PIR.
One of the few men to make four combat jumps with the 505th PIR: Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland. Working as a nurse practitioner before Pearl Harbor, he signed up to "get into the fight, do some good and the airborne was just getting started and it seemed like a good place to start." After jump school, he was set for medical training because of his nurse practitioner's experience, joining the A Company of the 505th. His first two jumps were into tough fights; the second campaign is where the Germans first used the term "Devils in Baggy Pants" because of how tenaciously the 82nd fought.
After the conclusion of the Salerno Campaign, the 505th was sent to England in preparation for Operation Overlord and the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe. On the night of June 5th, he boarded the C-47 with the rest of his stick of paratroopers, bound for Normandy, France. The aircraft was heavily loaded. Chet stood at the back with his back to the pilot and co-pilot when they started to take on enemy anti-aircraft fire, damaging the plane. Soon after the green light came on he exited the plane into the flack-filled night air, landing at the edge of St. Mere Eglise (he points to an area just past the left side of the painting as the place where he came down). "We were scattered all over the place, but I got busy because there was a lot going on already." Treating wounded Americans as he found them and later both US soldiers and German prisoners at the aid station set up near St. Mere Eglise, he worked with a couple of German medics. Chet came close to losing his life when a German sniper shot one of the medics near him, despite the red cross painted on his helmet. Chet was wounded later by an artillery burst, treating his own shrapnel wound "because everyone else was worse off than I was."
His fourth and final jump of the war would be Operation Market Garden at Nimajen Holland. He would later serve in the bitterly cold winter Battle of the Bulge near St. Vith. Chet was wounded while carrying the last of ten injured paratroopers and was evacuated to England where he remained until the war in Europe was over.
After the war, Chet worked for and retired from the US Post Office, later running a successful electrical business. He now raises bees and is known for his homemade honey.
Jim Rigas 82nd Airborne 505 PIR.
When the war broke out Jim was in college and was given the option to join the army immediately or finish and have a speciality assignment. He chose to stay and after graduation was assigned to the intelligence section, training first at Camp Devin, MA, and then in Camp Ritchie, MD, for in-depth and concentrated training. From there he went to Europe and found himself in the 82nd Airborne with General Gavin's staff. His responsibilities included determining the drop zones for the Normandy invasion. On the night of June 6th, he jumped into Normandy and landed just outside of St. Mere Eglise. It was his first jump out of any aircraft. After helping secure St. Mere Eglise, he went into the house directly to the right of the church, removing a Nazi flag that hung from the second balcony. He kept the flag and brought it home, storing it in a box in the attic. Years later he sold the house completely forgetting about the flag.
When the division was pulled out of France, he was sent to British jump school to get his mandatory five jumps in before becoming a paratrooper. He jumped into Holland and fought at Nijmegen and the Battle of the Bulge. Following the war he went back to school, later joining the US Navy serving in Naval Intelligence for 30 years.
Raymond Wallace 82nd Airborne 507 PIR, POW.
Drafted into the army in 1943 following induction in May of that year, he volunteered for the Airborne after watching a movie about Airborne Ski troops. Upon completing training at Camp Wheeler, GA, he moved to Ft. Benning, GA, finishing that phase in September. Ray departed for Ireland in January 1944, then on to Nottingham, England, for Operation Overlord preparations. On the night of June 6th he jumped at 300 ft. from an aircraft with one engine on fire. Jumping from such a low altitude his ankle was badly sprained upon landing. Despite the dark and confusion, he managed to find 15 paratroopers from his stick far, far from their intended drop zone. For the next 21 days they fought the enemy but were finally captured after nearly exhausting their ammunition and food. At the holding facility outside Paris, he escaped and for two weeks fought with the French Resistance, harassing the enemy once again. After recapture, he was sent to Stalag 12A for a period of time then on to another prison camp near Leipzig where he spent the rest of the war. At the time of his liberation from the POW camp his weight had dropped from 165 to 95 pounds.
George Shenkle 82nd Airborne 508 PIR.
Jumped into Normandy on D-Day and into Holland during Operation Market Garden. George was awarded the Purple Heart during the Battle of the Bulge. He has been a strong supporter of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regimental Association and the recipient of the Association's O. B. Hill Award.
The aircraft George jumped out of on June 6th is the Turf and Sport Special, now located in Dover, Delaware. It has been completely restored to its WWII configuration and markings.
"The Point" Veteran Biographies
Leonard G. Lomell
Born, 1920 and adopted by Scandinavian parents he was drafted into the army in June of 1942. He quickly rose in rank as a member of the 76th division. He attended Ranger training and was among the 60 who graduated the rigorous training. Accepting a promotion to First Sergeant in D Co. 2nd Ranger Battalion. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his action in taking out the guns near Point Du Hoc. After the war he distinguished himself as a prominent lawyer in Tom's River NJ.
John Robert "Bob" Slaughter
A native of Roanoke, Virginia he enlisted in the Virginia National Guard at the age of 15. An original member of the 29th ranger Battalion formed in 1942 he returned to the 116th Regiment of the 29th after the Ranger Battalion was disbanded in September of 1943. As a member D Company and landed in the 4th wave on D-Day. "I was really keyed up and so were my buddies, and we went around. I know I took my General Eisenhower message that was issued to all of us, and I got autographs of all my buddies and everybody I could get to autograph it.
As our teams were called, we assembled on the landing craft and were lowered into the water, and it was tremendously rough and the spray from the sea was cold, and it came over the sides of the landing craft and nearly everybody got soaked. We were taking water from the rough sea over the bow, and we were bailing to try to keep afloat. Some of the landing craft sank before they got in because of the rough sea. In fact, we picked up some of our buddies who had floundered eight or nine miles from shore, and we had taken them on as extra cargo; and some that we should have picked up or would have liked to have picked, we left because we didn't have room. We hoped somebody else would.
It was a terrible ride to the beach. Over to our right, the battleship Texas was firing into the cliffs, and every time that big fourteen inch gun went off, a tremendous tsunami swamped our boat, and the water would come over the side and just soak us and make our seasickness worse. As we got in to one thousand yards offshore, we started taking some mortar shells and some artillery. They were just over our bow and exploding off to our side, and we could also hear the small arms as we got in a little closer - the small arms were firing at us".
Bob served with the 116th the entire war earning 2 purple hearts. After the war he was the driving force in building the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford Virginia.
One of the men that landed with Colonel Rudder at the bottom of the cliffs at Pointe du hoc was Frank South, a medic in HQ company. For D-day the Rangers had been taken from their usual companies and placed over the various landing crafts. They were going to work wherever they were needed, regardless of company. The medics of the 2nd Bn had received the same training as all the other rangers, meaning that they were capable fighters that had medical knowledge beside their normal ranger training. South had had extensive training in treating the wounded in any way possible.He recalls: I had packed a huge mountain-pack with everything imaginable, from plasma to sulfathiazole powder. I carried this pack ashore with me. I also carried an expended aid pack that was issued to every medic.
Once I stepped of the ramp of the LCA that had taken us to the beach, I became immediately fully engaged by the wounded on the beach. This was my first time in combat, but I don't remember having fear. I was far to busy treating the wounded than thinking about anything else. Sometimes it was difficult to keep the seriously wounded from proceeding on. The beach was enfilated by machine-gunfire. Eventually this was knocked out by the rangers that had climbed the cliffs. However before the resistance was neutralized, the other medics and myself had a hard time protecting the wounded from getting wounded again. We placed all the wounded at the base of the cliff where they were safer. Once on the cliff, we the medics worked together to set up an aid station in an abandoned Anti-aircraft bunker. The staff officers of Colonel Rudder set the CP up in a shell crater, seaward of our aid post.
We worked together as a team of six medics in the aid station. There was one medical officer, two NCO's and three PFC's. At the cry of medic, one or more of us would go out into the field to retrieve the wounded. The men on the line had their own medics with them there at that time. Our medical supplies in the aid station where limited, but somehow we managed. On the second day we ran out of food. We did still have water, I can not recall where we got that, but it was there.
During one of the German counterattack, the Germans managed to penetrate our lines up to the perimeter of the aid station. At that point I took my brazzard of my arm, picked up my '45 went outside and helped to push the Germans back The brazzard with the red cross symbol was the only visible identification that you were a medic.
On the fourth day of the battle, the 116th Infantry Regiment broke through to us. They send for boats to pick up the wounded from the cliff. After the wounded had been evacuated, we the rest of the surviving rangers could leave the cliff. Mission accomplished.