4:58 | Navy Corpsman Frank Walden went ashore at Omaha Beach with the Beach Battalion, a unit charged with managing the beach during the assault. After the shock of seeing the first bodies, and after a frightening rush to find safety in the chaos, he began to treat the wounded.
Keywords : Frank Walden Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) stretcher life preserver Saving Private Ryan Don Burroughs bodies 88mm gun machine gun tank Virgil Mounts morphine triage Normandy D-Day Corpsman Red Onines Richard Onines
Navy Corpsman Frank Walden's first post was a hospital where he emptied bedpans. He asked for sea duty and got it, aboard the USS Anne Arundel, a troop transport. In the invasion of Sicily, he volunteered to go ashore and unload ammunition. That may be why he was reassigned to the new 6th Beach Battalion. If he was crazy enough to volunteer to go ashore, why not?
He was rushing to treat wounded men on Omaha beach when he was wounded by shrapnel from a German 88mm gun. Navy Corpsman Frank Walden describes the effects of the blast and his evacuation from the battle. After recovering back home, he was still obligated to serve until he was twenty one, but there would be no more artillery targeted on him.
Frank Walden has been back to Omaha Beach twice. The first time, traveling on his own, he almost didn't get there. The second time was the 50th Anniversary and he secured seating right up front at the ceremony. He insisted that the tour bus stop at a German military cemetery. After all, those boys were the same age as ours.
After a pleasant stop in Nice where he got to know an atypical French girl, Herman Krum's unit headed North to Soissons. Then the glider unit was sent to England where the 1st Allied Airborne Army was being formed, with British and French troops joining the Americans. Krum got to see Berlin by the time the war was over.
Returning from a mission, B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun saw 2 planes from his flight collide right in front of him. The tumbling planes just missed his own aircraft. On another mission, the squadron flew on to Algiers and slept under the wing of their plane, "Shackaroo," for a week in the desert, waiting to return.
Two planes roared right across the bow of the ship. "Those are Jap planes," said Turner Harris, and he watched one of the kamikazes damage two aircraft carriers. At the Battle of Okinawa, his ship bombarded the island for 59 days, all the while fighting off Japanese attacks with anti-aircraft fire and smokescreens.
There was no choice when you went to the induction center, says Herman Krum. If they had an order for ten cooks, the next ten men that walked through the door were going to be cooks. During radio school, he volunteered for a shift as an auxiliary MP. It was uneventful until he returned to the police station where several GI's had been brought in for intoxication.
As his tour wound down, B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun was honored to have his commanding officers flying with him. At that point in the war, the German V-1 program was still secret but the Allied bombers were already hitting their bases. Time off in London was always welcome and he tells what he found there.
It became known as the Turkey Shoot because of the incredible numbers of downed Japanese planes. That was the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the next battle, Leyte Gulf, broke the back of the Japanese in the South Pacific. Radioman Turner Harris credits the American Hellcat pilots with his survival in those battles.
The man at the pilot physical said that Dequindre McGlaun had eyes like a horse with outstanding peripheral vision. That didn't help when he was washed out by an overzealous captain. He went back to work in a civilian job but he contacted the Army Air Corps and offered himself up for bombardier training.
Turner Harris had to go to the head but there was a long line, so he sat down for a moment on a ladder at the edge of the ship. He heard a plane in distress and turned to watch it hit one of the masts and explode. The next thing he knew, he was over the edge and hanging on for dear life.
The mission to Kiel was a fateful one for B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun. The group was disorganized because of a base reassignment and the men were awakened at 3 AM with no advance notice of a mission. After hitting the target, his squadron was swarmed by enemy fighters. Every 50 cal machine gun on the plane was firing as the bomber slipped lower and lower toward the water.
Finally back home, Turner Harris could not find a job, so he reenlisted and became a Navy recruiter. After a while, he took a civilian job, but the Navy lured him back in with clandestine work, although he didn't realize that was what it was. He was working for Communications Support Activities, a Naval signal intelligence agency.
It had been quite a tour and B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun returned to the States, got married and was assigned to teach new bombardiers in Texas. When VJ Day came, the town went nuts and, soon, he was out of the service and beginning a long and rewarding career as a teacher.
The MPM Circuit was a continuous feed from Honolulu, one coded message after another, 24 hours a day. Radioman Turner Harris translated the Morse code for the decoding officer, then was on to the next message. That was also his battle station so he spent a lot of time there. He was on a heavy cruiser that was bombarding Japanese held islands.
Dequindre McGlaun volunteered for combat by taking the place of a bombardier who got cold feet. He didn't have to go but he was trained for it and he was tired of beating around the States, waiting for assignments. They got new B-17's to fly to England but, immediately, a problem developed.
Turner Harris went through three typhoons during his Pacific tour. The first two didn't amount to much, but the third one was deadly. He describes the sight of the giant swells and how he avoided injury, at least until he went to fetch sandwiches.
After a shuttle mission to North Africa, Dequindre McGlaun's B-17 squadron returned to it's base in England. Led by his plane, "Shackaroo," they hit a German submarine base on the way. Several highly successful missions followed, including a strike in the heart of Paris and one across the Baltic Sea that resulted in a classic photograph of the bomb run that wound up in museums.
Frank Harris recalls some more of his training in California on the B-25 and transitioning to the A-20 in South Carolina. While on a training mission, Harris' plane stalled over North Carolina and he had to make an emergency landing, changing his military career for good.
He decided he would rather ride than walk, so Turner Harris volunteered for the Navy in 1942. His journey started out rough in an open rail car with cinders blowing on him. After basic training, he was sent to radio school and eventually assigned to the USS New Orleans, a heavy cruiser.
The B-17 crews had crossed the Atlantic and were organizing in England. On his second mission, bombardier Dequindre McGlaun's plane was shot up so bad it had to be replaced. He told his mates that they had to get their attitude straight if they were going to deal with things like that and still be successful. After six missions, he was named lead bombardier.
There was no obvious front line, says Herman Krum. In the push up through Southern France, he never knew what was really going on. The transportation was ad hoc and one ride he took with a madman from the Bronx was memorable. They kept moving north and at one point, he was told to take a message to the General and he asked, "Where is he?" "I don't know," came the reply. "Go find him."
Turner Harris joined the crew of the USS New Orleans just as repairs were completed. The Radioman was assigned to Radio Room 3, deep in the ship. His first action was off Wake Island, where he felt, but could not see, the artillery fire from shore. After the battle, he asked his Chief for a big favor.
The men in the new 1st Airborne Task Force ranged from experienced paratroopers to misfit replacements. Hank Krum was neither, and he took to the glider training with interest. A Japanese-American Nisei unit was part of the outfit and he enjoyed it when they were in charge of the cooking. The task force was created for the invasion of Southern France.
When he was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to play trombone in the band, Fred Webb was able to concentrate on improving his musicianship. He took lessons from a Hollywood studio player, played many Marine events, and then there was the occasional big band concert.
The glider pilots had new instructions regarding the tow rope in light of some problems during the Normandy invasion. The 1st Airborne Task Force was preparing for the invasion of Southern France and Herman Krum was part of it. As he was approaching the landing zone, he saw many gliders coming from all directions, which was a little alarming. They had a rough landing, but the unit was intact and ready to fight.
Byron Hale describes leaving England heading to Belgium in an LST filled with Artillery. The Battle of the Bulge is getting underway and Byron witnesses first hand being shelled by German 88's. Byron has to scramble to find medical attention for his 1st Lieutenant after receiving a shrapnel injury.
The troop ship landed in Oran, where you did not want to mess with the local women, as Herman Krum learned from the old hands. Soon he was sent to Italy on a slow, miserable convoy, though the cabin was nice. In Naples, his name was called and he set out with others to a seaside town where the men were told they were now in a glider unit. Some of them turned around and ran back to the trucks.
William recalls his first night on Bougainville and his experience on the front lines. Artillery fire did not cease all night and he was unable to leave the foxholes until June. He also recalls being out on patrols and how planes would drop bombs that would occasionally get close enough to scrape right over his head.