D-Day veterans connect with new generation of cadets
The Greatest Generation pays it forward
- Duration 9:28
- Date May 28, 2012
The Greatest Generation pays it forward
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Welcome back this is memorial day of course a look back at one of America's most glorious hours of triumph and sacrifice.
On the fifteen year ago today.
The beaches of Normandy -- consecrated by the blood of our hero.
Well today the greatest generation.
Is paying it forward a group of DBA veterans returning to the shores of Normandy 68 years later as part of a contingent of veterans and cadets.
I think heroes passing along lessons learned -- tribute to bodies lost.
And reminding a new generation of the real price of freedom joining us now before they had back to Normandy.
Petty officer second class Joseph sheet -- US navy private John so poll.
At private first class Wilson -- well army as well gentlemen thank you Sony.
It is such a privilege for us to have you here thank you so much for dropping -- line.
-- You were eighteen years old when you arrived at Normandie yes talk to us about that.
Yes sir and we were supposed to being in the invasion on June the fifth but the weather was so bad.
It would -- to -- -- in the sixth.
And that was also a bad days and after the first couple waves.
It came in and they were isolated and -- stop the invasion temporarily is that you -- that's me that's for now we job.
You still look young so they stopped it temporarily and one and funny.
A couple of destroyers.
Went up so full she almost -- -- in the bottom and they.
Hit that whole hillside like who could not believe -- file was dust.
And they -- on a group of soldiers finally broke through and got behind.
When it comes the -- -- But need an isolated a bunch of them Durbin rather and then the army.
Shoulders of one of the boats were able -- that.
You came in a different way you were parachuting in.
And you were how old were you I was just one years old.
Talk to us about landing and what happened.
I'm of Normandy.
We jumped to 1:30 AM pitch dark behind enemy lines.
Our mission was to parachute behind enemy lines.
Do everything possible to keep the Germans at me to prevent them from getting to the beach and to allow them to establish a beachhead to -- on the American side.
And then was sold direct that and the weather was -- -- As a result we were scattered all over the countryside.
And before we entered the play -- desultory like cricket.
And it would click click if you if you felt movement.
And couldn't identify what was that night you would -- toys.
If he was a paratrooper he will have had the quick and he would click back ones that means that he would be friendly.
How scared were you I was -- it would be in the nineteen year old.
And -- I was frightened but -- -- adrenaline gets to the -- war.
You forget about being in -- and you're trying to save your life.
And doing your job at the same time.
Caldwell U verse sixteen years old if you parachuted.
-- Well just before I left the airplane the last words are heard Muslim feel a little book to your right one of you will -- see daylight.
So when I -- I have these little cricket.
And I found a ditch and -- -- sure that I state in the ditch until -- because I want to see daylight.
And I was about 125 miles behind enemy lines by a mistake.
Because the airplanes were scattered when -- -- -- started.
From the ground -- they just scattered all over.
And like there -- John says is verse here in sixteen years of age of frightened and my job was to.
The about a mile from the beach with these third battalion to.
Wipe out we were told about 18100 US troops in four hours so that they could bring in supplies from the ships.
And took me six days to get back to my unit and I ended up with -- second airborne division.
And of the seventeen.
You to notice that -- -- night to get back to -- beaches with color.
-- as you look back on -- now and I'm sure you've reflected on it every year.
The rest of your life do you look back and you say how did we do that -- and I survive.
Yes -- your -- right.
It's hard to describe -- -- all.
Of so many bodies that first day.
And part the lemons.
And very timing may have run he felt lucky.
And hope that you -- that the government of the opener.
And -- only -- -- job.
We had a job to do.
And you can't push -- -- she follow.
Yeah because I was you know we had -- but between the storm.
The water very very rough.
And the bombers did not.
Hit the right spots.
Because -- weather was so bad.
And the artillery was shot.
From Leo ships they were over shooting because the weather was so bad just -- bad -- thank god.
It worked out OK after the through destroyer when it hit that whole hillside.
Like it would not -- -- -- dust and the group of army member -- -- -- -- but golly.
So which like that.
And they got behind and that took out -- -- boxes.
That started the -- Mr.
supposed to -- you look back and you say.
-- it out and I live and so many down.
Whenever I watch television and move some and and especially at the anniversary of Normandy or column.
And I look and I just figured myself what ever made me do how -- I dual.
Well we were trained for it wasn't that it's okay and there's a plane get in there here's a parachute jump -- we had a lot of training.
Before we even jump out of an airplane.
Powers and all that so we were youths -- it.
But I never got up over being frightened and mr.
-- -- you're fearful frighten you really don't know what you're doing.
And I have a lot of faith and my face did not allow me to think.
These negative more often.
Had a great Christian mother and I -- -- informant.
And I always felt that of them make it.
And like I -- we all they've found some Google.
And its great tribute to have to be in the travel back to the hedge rows in the -- beaches where that we.
We're gonna prove you know young fellows.
And look at the -- stones and bring back a lot of memories and breakthrough theorize when you see.
Schedules sixteen year old friend -- that was blown to pieces.
-- gentlemen you bring tears to my eyes and I tell my children reason -- here is because you and so many others remain at that.
Thank you for saving America I don't think that's an overstatement at all thank you so much.
Ministers who knows it -- like to -- our allies also wore through and we like to thank for corporations that support the greatest generation.
That make these troops possible for us to go back to the beaches and removed from the -- days that we.
We'd like for more corporations -- -- forward and help us because we are a nonprofit organization.
Located in them -- I think we can help you with that I really do so we're gonna try to do just a -- Johnson pulled Wilson -- while.
Tell me your heroes and thank you and your very humble about it and thank you very much for sharing your stories as -- -- used to.