It’s 9:21 on Saturday Morning, June 6th. It was during this hour that my Grandfather, Marvin Morton, stepped onto Utah Beach.
They had been in their landing craft since about 3:30 waiting for the word. A few hours earlier, members of the 82nd and 101 Airborne parachuted behind the lines. When the word was given, it took several hours for the men to leave the Transport ships and hit the beach.
Unfortunately, the Landing Craft that had been sent ahead to act as markers to the LZ had been sunk. The LC that carried the troops landed south of the target.
On one of the first boats was the only General to land at Normandy. He was a veteran of several wars, son of a president and nephew to the current president. Brigadier General Roosevelt wore not helmet and carried his cane off of the boat. It was said that men feared him more than the Germans.
He decided that, instead of going back to the original LZ, they would establish the beach head right were they stood. This decision saved many men that day: the original LZ was heavily defended.
South of Utah, at Pointe du Hoc, a group of Army Rangers scaled the cliffs with ropes and ladders to take out the gun emplacements capable of hitting Utah and Omaha beaches.
1st Lt Richard Winters, of Company E (Easy), 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division devolved (aka – the Band of Brothers), led a group of men to take out artillery located at Brécourt Manor. The battery “had initially been reported to be 88 mm guns firing onto causeway exit #2 leading off Utah Beach and disrupting landing forces of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division advancing inland on this route.” It turned out to be much more than that – it was four 105 mm howitzers connected by trenches and defended by a platoon of soldiers. Winter’s attacked the positions, and as a result, there were less guns pointing at Utah.
Decisions were made and heroic actions were performed on June 6th, 1944. Actions that saved many soldier’s lives of the 4th Infantry Division, including my Grandfather’s.