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The First Man on Omaha Red

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The First Man on Omaha Red: D-Day H-Hour –2:00: The War Memoirs of Capt. William C. Smith Jr.
  • by William C. Smith Jr.
    • with William E. Smith and Dr. Philip M. Trinity
      • Merriam Press World War 2 Memoir Series
        • First Edition 2014
        • 200 6x9-inch pages
        • 61 photos and documents
        • 3 maps
The history of D-Day on Omaha Red is not complete without this book. Capt. William C. Smith Jr. was the first man on Omaha Red two hours before the invasion. For his service, he received a Bronze Star with V for valor. He has also been inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor.
     His story explains how the invasion was different from those of North Africa and Sicily. It also describes in detail how he and the other nine men trained for this most difficult and dangerous job—calling fire from the Navy ships against the German defenses on that fateful day that changed history forever.
     But this work also brings the relationships between soldiers to life with humor and a depth of emotion seldom described in other works. It is so powerful because it is told in first person by the man that lived through the four and a half years of World War II. It was written from more than 100 hours of interviews by the authors.
     The work begins from the 1st Division's invasion of North Africa and continues through the breach of the German border. It includes the struggles of the wives and families that were left behind waiting for their loved ones to return from Europe.
     Unlike so many histories, this work also details the unique bond between soldiers that forms from mutual dependence. Captain Smith's relationship with his driver and close friend Sampson gives the work the humanity missing from other memoirs.
     This was a story that had to be told, and now it has so that we may better understand the sacrifices these men made in the name of liberty.

  • Chapter 1: In the Beginning There Was North Africa
  • Chapter 2: Then There Was Sicily
  • Chapter 3: Practice Makes Perfect
  • Chapter 4: D-Day: The Hardest 24 Hours of My Life
  • Chapter 5: Life in the Grasshopper
  • Chapter 6: The Liberation of Paris and the Path to Belgium
  • Chapter 7: The Battle of Mons and the Liberation of Belgium
  • Chapter 8: Welcome to Germany … Sort of
  • Chapter 9: A Lady in Waiting: One World War II Wife’s Story
  • Chapter 10: Life on the Home Front: For Those Who Were Left Behind

This reminded me of the conversations that my uncles had with friends that I heard as a youngter when they were talking with their friends or just telling stories of there experances in war. This also had meaning to me because I am a friend of Mr. Smith's son and have seen the excitement this book brought to him. He said that his dad never spoke of his experance on the beach. I had a uncle who also landed there and he never talked very much about it until he got very ill with cancer and felt the need to deal with the dead buddies and enemies killed by him.

Well done. I have been to Omaha Beach four times and did not know the story of the early artillery spotters.

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