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United States Coast Guard at Normandy


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#1 Drew5233

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:33 AM

I saw these pictures on the Normandy site posted by Verries and thought the USCG doesn't get very much PR from WW2 so heres some info for your perusal.

Cheers.

1.
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The USCG-1, formerly the 83300, escorted the first waves of landing craft into the Omaha assault area on D-Day morning. Her crew pulled 28 survivors from a sunken landing craft out of the English Channel right off the beaches before 0700, 6 June 1944. Here the 83-foot Coast Guard cutter USCG 1 is picturedoff Omaha Beach on the morning of D-Day, tied up to an LCT and the Samuel Chase.
2.
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The USCG-6 (83334) off Normandy. Note her unofficial skull and cross-bone insignia hand-painted beneath her flying bridge.
3.
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USCG-20 (83401) and USCG-21 (83402) off the coast of Normandy. The USCG-20 was later driven ashore during the storm that destroyed the artificial harbors in June, 1944. She was repaired and transferred to the Royal Navy (through the WSA) later that year.
4.
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The crew aboard the USCG-6 with the cutter's unofficial insignia painted on their helmets.


From a quick bit of research on the USCG site they had a wide role on D-Day from manning some of the many Landing Craft Infantry (LCI's) to the bigger Assault Transport ships off shore helping to co-ordinate the landings. In total 100 vessels were manned by the USCG. The craft pictures above are several of the sixty 83ft Cutters that patrolled the shore under sometimes direct enemy fire rescuing survivors in the sea and ferry wounded back to larger ships off shore to receive medical treatment.

Some further info on the cutters.

During the spring of 1944, prior to the onset of Operation Overlord, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the Coast Guard to provide search and rescue craft for the invasion. The Coast Guard had a fleet of 83-foot wooden-hulled patrol craft that were used for coastal patrols in U.S. waters and so the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet, Admiral Ernest King, USN, ordered the Coast Guard to deploy 60 of these cutters to the United Kingdom for service during Operation Neptune/Overlord. Their hull numbers were removed and they were given new designations of 1 to 60, preceded by "USCG", to ease identification issues in the Allied invasion fleet. Each cutter was transported piggy-back on freighters to the U.K. where they were offloaded, formed into "Rescue Flotilla One" based at Poole, England, and modified for service as rescue craft. They earned the nickname "Matchbox Fleet" due to their wooden hulls and two Sterling-Viking gasoline engines -- one incendiary shell hitting a cutter could easily turn it into a "fireball."
They were assigned to each of the invasion areas, with 30 serving off of the British and Canadian sectors and 30 serving off the American sectors. During Operation Neptune/Overlord these cutters and their crews carried out the Coast Guard's time-honored task of saving lives, albeit under enemy fire on a shoreline thousands of miles from home. The cutters of Rescue Flotilla One saved more than 400 men on D-Day alone and by the time the unit was decommissioned in December, 1944, they had saved 1,438 souls.


The USCG suffed 15 casualties on D-Day, mainly from crewing the LCI's.


For further reading click below.
USCG.


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#2 Paul Dahl

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 02:02 AM

From a proud, still serving "Coastie", thank you for the pictures (and publicity). What isn't mentioned is that many of the troop transports and LCVP's that landed the soldiers on the beach were also manned by Coastguardsmen.

Warmest Regards!
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#3 Passchendaele_Baby

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 02:12 AM

Nice Pic's!!!
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#4 Paul Reed

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:59 AM

The US Coast Guard website has the following interesting information on memorials and commemorations relating to D Day:

Rescue Flotilla 1 (The "Matchbox Fleet") Memorial
Poole, England
Along the harborside at Poole, England, on June 6, 1994, a plaque was dedicated to the men of Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1. The inscription reads: "From this Quay, 60 cutters of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla 1 departed for the Normandy Invasion, 6 June 1944. These 83 foot boats, built entirely of wood, and the 840 crewmembers were credited with saving the lives of 1437 men and 1 woman. In remembrance of the service of Rescue Flotilla 1, and with appreciation of the kindnesses of the people of Poole to the crews, this Plaque is given by the men and women of the United States Coast Guard."

Coast Guard at Normandy Memorial
Utah Beach, Normandy, France

On June 6, 1994, the Coast Guard Combat Veterans Association dedicated a plaque to those Coast Guard veterans who served at the invasion of Normandy. The plaque's inscription reads: "Dedicated this 6th day of June, 1994, to the members of the United States Coast Guard who participated in the initial invasion of Normandy, especially to those who gave their lives here, and to all United States Coast Guard forces who served world wide on land, sea and air during WWII. The nations of the world shall long remember Normandy; the United States armed forces, their allies and the cost of freedom at this place. The United States Coast Guard motto is, as always, 'Semper Paratus' Always Ready".

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Colleville-sur-Mer, France
This U.S. national cemetery near Normandy is the final resting place of seven Coast Guardsmen:


  • Harry L. Siebert; BM2c (died 6 June 1944)
  • August B. Buncik, MoMM3c
  • Fletcher P. Burton, Jr., S1c
  • Jack A. DeNunzio, S1c
  • Leslie Fritz, S1c
  • Stanley Wilczak, RM3c
  • Bernard L. Wolfe, S1c
Coast Guard Monuments & Memorials
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#5 Drew5233

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 10:39 AM

From a proud, still serving "Coastie", thank you for the pictures (and publicity).



Your welcome Paul,

The pictures stood out to me and made me remember I met some of your lady colleagues down in the port at Um Qasar in Iraq, 2003.

Here's a little USCG humour for you too.
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I think this is either taken in the UK on the South Coast (Pre Invasion) or on the French Coast (6th June). I think its the latter though. The Cutter is USCG 60 (Taken from the USCG site) and I think it would have been attached to the British sector of beaches. Ironically the British contingent in the photo is from what I can make out two Corporals from The Royal Corps of Signals and a chap from the Royal Tank Regiment. I'm not sure who the Royal Navy chap is though- If anyone has any ideas?

Cheers
Andy
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#6 von Poop

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 06:54 PM

'New' member cmomm had a bit of bother posting this so I'm just lending a hand:

"Nice to see the pics of Resflo 1---we are finally getting some recognition of CG overseas service---my county Veterans Service Officer told me about 15 yrs ago "there were no CG at Normandy" when I asked him if he could help me get the medal given by France for the 50th Anniversary.

As to the monument/plaque in Poole, Dorset where our 83's were based in '44-'45, it was the Resflo boys who put it there. Jack Campbell GM3c, CG49(83490), a PNP of Coast Guard Combat Vets and I put our heads together and became the moving force to put a remembrance for the Coast Guard in England or Normandy for the 50th Anniversary in 1994 (we choose Poole, siince it was our base for the 60 cutters and the town supplied the Purbeck Stone for mounting the bronze plaque)---Jack (who just 'passed over the bar' in Dec '08) did most of the legwork while I had the honor to write the inscription words.

God Bless the United States Coast Guard and all those who have served in her and their Nation, past and present. 'You have to go out, you do not have to come back'----Semper Paratus

Jack W Read CMoMM,USCG ----CG43(83464) Juno Beach, Normandy 6/6/44"
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#7 militarycross

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 07:51 PM

Thanks for this new piece to my knowledge bank. Welcome to Jack and I would really appreciate it if he would take some time to share a bit of what D-Day was like from a Coastie's perspective.

phil
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#8 cmomm

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 07:10 AM

Thanks to van Poop fo posting my info---will get back anon---nursing a cold and sore throat from this rotten winter we have had in PA
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#9 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 05:45 AM

some pics of normandy---for those at juno beach (canadian) this is the list of ships in myconvoy group assignment--'queen emma' (underlined on above list) was troopship my cutter was assigned to----coast guard cutter loading casualties onto hospital ship

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#10 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 05:58 AM

few more pics of cg at normandy---

copy of Bournemouth Echo about D-Day--
part of the 60 CG cutters at Poole Quay--
most of my crew(CG43)---me--row 1, right

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#11 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 06:11 AM

sorry about foulup on middle pic of above post -that is plaque on Poole Quay--

couple more pics and I have additional if you folks would want them--

1--many of the 60 cutters at Poole Quay--'44
2--Barrage balloon on Poole Quay
3--my cutter (83464) anti-sub inshore patrol (50 fathom curve) of East coast US 1943
-

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#12 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 06:17 AM

forgive me folks (I am old)---here is the pic of the cutters!!

cutters at Poole

me as CMoMM in London on leave

me at home as Seaman2c in early '42

Hope Ifinally got it right??

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#13 Drew5233

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 10:50 AM

Many thanks for sharing your pictures, I'm glad the thread brought you along to the forum :)

Cheers
Andy
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#14 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 11:15 AM

Cmomm,

Thanks for sharing your great photographs with us all.

Are the racks on the Bow of your Cutter rocket projectors?

Regards
Tom
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#15 von Poop

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 01:01 PM

Great stuff cmomm,
I've taken the liberty of adding you and your crew as your avatar (the picture under your name).
Hope you don't mind, give me a shout if you'd prefer something else.

Cheers,
Adam.
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#16 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:22 PM

Smudger
Yes---they are what we called 'mousetraps'---worked with a unit in the wheelhouse they called a' chemical recorder'---something like a computer today, I believe---I was and engineer and had to training on that unit --tracked the sound echo and cutter speed, etc----idea was because depth chages killed the sound contact while these 'rockets armed themselves with a spinner vane nose---no hit, no explosion, no loss of echo (as my memory seves me after all these years)
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#17 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:38 PM

three more pics--

1-beach after d-day

2-two 83's on a channel crossing

3-side view of an 83' cutter--(traps up--they lie flat on deck when not in use)

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#18 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:07 PM

1--another casualty loaded to hospital ship

2--tied up at Poole Quay

3--nazi flag

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#19 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:17 PM

1-Normandy beachhead

2--" " " "

3--HMS Cerebus--??

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#20 Slipdigit

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:19 PM

Mr. Jack, those are great pics, I've enjoyed looking at them. Post all you can.

You need to move South. We're having great weather, temp in the 70s today and yesterday.
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Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#21 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:20 PM

Smudger
Yes---they are what we called 'mousetraps'---worked with a unit in the wheelhouse they called a' chemical recorder'---something like a computer today, I believe---I was and engineer and had to training on that unit --tracked the sound echo and cutter speed, etc----idea was because depth chages killed the sound contact while these 'rockets armed themselves with a spinner vane nose---no hit, no explosion, no loss of echo (as my memory seves me after all these years)


It appears to be a similar system to the British hedgehog system, motars from a spigot system and like you say no hit no explosion and better for the asdic operators ears!

I visited patriots point at Charleston, SC, and toured the WW2 Coast Guard vessel as well as the Submarine and Aircraftcarrier.
A great day out.

Regards
Tom
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#22 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:25 PM

1--HMS Venus---??

2--Up Channel to Portsmouth ro form up with Juno Beach convoy

3--Two Chief Petty Officers--One Ltjg

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#23 cmomm

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:38 PM

Slipdigit--

Pics are old, like me, but they don't make any more like them and they carry a world of memories for me---met some of the finest people is this world in 'Merrie Old England' who were able to smile, in spite of all they had been through, and treat strangers like their own---I pray daily that we keep that friendship close for I fear we will need it soon again--
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#24 Drew5233

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 10:01 PM

Excellent pic's matey :)
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#25 Drew5233

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 09:26 PM

From the US National Archives

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"Two Ohio Coast Guardsmen [John R. Smith, on the left, and Daniel J. Kaczorowski] stand at their gun aboard a Coast Guard-manned invasion transport on which they served during the invasion of Normandy." Smith, steward's mate, third class, also served during assaults against North Africa, Sicily, and Italy.
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#26 Drew5233

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:40 PM

Found some more on privateletters.net.
Posted Image
Coast Guard boat transferring casualties off Normandy, June 1944

Posted Image
Coast Guardsman rescue survivors off Normandy, June 1944.

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Rescueing a survivor off Normandy, June 1944.

Posted Image
PTs and USCG patrol boats at Cherbourg, France

Edited by Drew5233, 09 May 2009 - 01:50 PM.

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#27 Drew5233

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 09:37 PM

Not Normandy but still USCG.
Posted Image
US Navy seaman relaxing as 2 Coast Guardsman scrape thick coating of oil from his body, after his ship, USS Lansdale, was sunk by Nazi planes off coast of N. Africa, during WWII.
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#28 Drew5233

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:24 PM

Back to Normandy off Omaha Beach
Posted Image
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#29 Drew5233

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:51 PM

Anyone else got any information on the USCG in Europe?
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#30 englandphil

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 09:35 AM

Drew, list of USCG Casualties on D-Day

http://www.uscg.mil/...normandyKIA.pdf

List of awards given to USCG Personell

COAST GUARD HEROES AT NORMANDY:
Selected combat award citations of Coast Guardsmen decorated for valor under fire during the Normandy Invasion

Samuel W. Allison, Silver Star
Lieutenant Samuel W. Allison was awarded the Silver Star: "For conspicuous gallantry in action as Commanding Officer of LCI(L) 326 during amphibious landings on the French coast June 6, 1944. Displaying superb seamanship and dauntless courage, Lieutenant Allison successfully landed units of the Army, then stood off the beach for salvage duty. Realizing that the services of a control boat were urgently needed, he volunteered for this assignment and, in the face of concentrated shell fire and constant threat of exploding mines, effectively directed boat traffic throughout the remainder of the initial assault."

George C. Clark, British Distinguished Service Cross
Lieutenant George C. Clark was awarded the British Distinguished Service Cross. His citation reads: "During the landing of commandos at Quistreham by LCI (S) on June 6, 1944, Lieut. Clark's cutter was detailed to act as escort to LCI(S) HM LCI(S) 524 on clearing the beach after landing troops received a direct hit and blew up in a sheet of flames leaving a mass of blazing Octane petrol on the water. Although his cutter burned Octane petrol, he did not hesitate to steer his craft into the flames and rescue the commanding officer and some of his men."

Gene R. Gislason, Silver Star
Lieutenant Gene R. Gislason was awarded the Silver Star: "For outstanding heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI (L) 94, while landing assault troops in Normandy June 6, 1944. He successfully directed his ship through numerous beach obstacles to the proper beach, discharged his troops and retracted while his ship was seriously damaged from heavy enemy fire. Ship's communications, engine telegraph and electric steering were disabled by direct hits on the pilothouse which killed three crewmen, and one screw and shaft were rendered inoperative by beach obstacles. By his coolness under fire and excellent seamanship, Lieutenant Gislason overcame these difficulties and brought his ship off the beach on hand steering and one screw. He later supervised repairs and in four hours enabled the LCI (L) to remain operative in the assault area for three weeks."

Coit T. Hendley, Silver Star
Lieutenant, junior grade Coit Hendley was awarded the Silver Star: "For heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI (L) 85 while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. Lieutenant Hendley successfully landed his troops despite the mining of his vessel, fire in three compartments and a concentration of enemy fire while unloading. His courage and seamanship in directing repairs and retracting from the beach resulted in saving the lives of many wounded aboard."

George F. Hutchinson, Silver Star
Lieutenant, junior grade George F. Hutchinson was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry in action against the enemy as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI (L) 83 while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. Lieutenant Hutchinson directed his ship to the beach through heavily mined obstacle while under heavy enemy fire that caused numerous Army casualties, successfully unloaded troops after the ship was mined and remained with the ship effecting repairs that enabled it to come off the beach on the next tide."

Miles H. Imlay, Silver Star
Captain Miles H. Imlay was awarded the Silver Star: "For conspicuous gallantry as Deputy Commander of an Assault Group participating in the initial invasion on the coast of France, June 6, 1944. Undaunted by heavy enemy fire, Captain Imlay courageously took station close to the shore on the early morning of D-Day and, throughout the most bitter period of the fighting, coolly and promptly made spot decisions on the reorganization, grouping and dispatching of craft to the beach, subsequently relieving the Task Group Commander of his duties when he withdrew his transport from the assault area. Immediately thereafter, he was placed in charge of operations afloat as assistant to the Naval Officer in Charge of one of the beaches and, discharging the duties of this responsibility with distinctive professional ability, contributed essentially to the rapid clearing of the backlog of ships."
Note: he also earned the Legion of Merit for his actions at the invasion of Sicily and a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his role during the invasion of Salerno, Italy.

Gene E. Oxley, Silver Star
Seaman 1/c Gene E. Oxley was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry while on the USS LCI(L)-85 during the assault on the coast of France June 6, 1944, and for extraordinary courage in volunteering and twice taking a line ashore, in the face of heavy machine gun and shell fire, in order to assist troops unloading from the ship to the beach through chest deep water."

Robert M. Salmon, Silver Star
Lieutenant Robert M. Salmon was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry as commanding officer of a U.S. LCI (L) while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. He pressed the landing of troops despite the mining of his vessel, a serious fire forward and heavy enemy gunfire. He supervised the unloading of troops, directed the fire fighting despite the loss of proper equipment and exhibiting courage of a high degree remained with the ship until it was impossible to control the progress of the fire until it was impossible to control the progress of the fire and it was necessary to abandon ship over the stern. After abandoning he directed a party searching for fire fighting equipment and subsequently fought the fire on another LCI (L) and assisted her commanding officer until she was abandoned."

William F. Trump, Silver Star
Motor Machinist's Mate 1/c William F. Trump was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry and intrepidity in action in the assault phase of an LCI (L) which landed troops in the face of severe enemy fire and despite a profusion of beach obstacles on the coast of France June 6, 1944. Having volunteered for the assignment he waded between the heavily mined beach obstacles and dragged an anchor and anchor-line to shallow water, thereby providing a safety line for troops to follow."

Aden C. Unger, Silver Star
Commander Aden C. Unger was awarded the Silver Star: "For outstanding services as a deputy assault group commander in the assault on the coast of France, June 6, 1944. He took his station close to the beach under heavy enemy fire on the day of the assault and remained under fire during the most bitter period of the fighting, when with great coolness he made decisions on the spot, reorganized, grouped and dispatched craft to the beach, and made the weight of his judgment felt in a manner which contributed materially to the success of the operation."

Arend Vyn, Jr., Silver Star
Lieutenant junior grade Arend Vyn was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry in action as Commanding Officer of USS LCI 91 in the assault on the coast of France June 6 1944. Lt (jg) Vyn beached his ship and discharged the Army elements therein in the face of murderous fire and a labyrinth of obstacles and mines. In spite of the fact that his ship was mined and repeatedly struck by artillery fire and small-arms fire, he continued to land the army load in the face of certain loss of his ship. His determination to put the Army ashore was in keeping with the highest traditions of the offensive spirit of the United States Naval Service."

Quentin R. Walsh, Navy Cross
Lieutenant Commander (later Captain) Quentin R. Walsh was a member of the Logistics and Planning Section, US Naval Forces during World War II. Prior to the Normandy invasion, he planned the occupation and operation of the ports that were to be captured from the Germans, including Cherbourg. He was awarded the Navy Cross for: "Heroism as Commanding Officer of a U.S. Naval party reconnoitering the naval facilities and naval arsenal at Cherbourg June 26 and 27, 1944. While in command of a reconnaissance party, Commander Walsh entered the port of Cherbourg and penetrated the eastern half of the city, engaging in street fighting with the enemy. He accepted the surrender and disarmed 400 of the enemy force at the naval arsenal and later received unconditional surrender of 350 enemy troops and, at the same time, released 52 captured U.S. Army paratroopers."

Robert G. Ward, Silver Star
Seaman 1/c Robert G. Ward was awarded the Silver Star: "For conspicuous gallantry in action during the landing operations against the enemy on Cotentin Peninsula, France, June 6, 1944. While acting as coxswain of a landing craft in the first wave, Ward successfully landed his troop personnel despite enemy opposition. Upon retracting from the beach he observed the stranded crews from two other landing craft whose boats had been destroyed by enemy mortar fire. Ward returned to the beach, took off both crews despite continued shelling, and returned safely with them to his ship."

SOURCE : Normandy: D-Day


Loads more info here, including personal account, casualte numbers, ship losses etc etc

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