GERARD, PAUL H.

 

 

PAUL H. GERARD

 

U. S. Army  -  Staff Sergeant

 

1941-1945  -  Combat

 

European Theater

 

Military Honors and Awards:

European Theater with Five Bronze Stars

 

European Combat Medal with Arrowhead for D-Day Landing on Omaha Beach 

 

 

 

 

 

Drafted November 1941, just prior to Pearl Harbor bombing (Dec. 7, 1941) served at

Camp Croft (South Carolina)

Camp Gordon/Fort Gordon (Georgia)

Fort Dix (New Jersey)

Camp Gordon Johnson (Florida)

Camp Jackson (South Carolina)

Camp Kilmer (New Jersey)

until boarding ship to Europe February 1944 in the 4th Infantry Division Signal Corps.

 

Landed on Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944.   Destinations in Europe:  St. Mereglise, Cherbourg, St. Lo, Paris, Bastogne France.

Cologne, Munich, Nuremberg Germany.

 

War with Germany ended May 8, 1945, and I returned to the United States and was discharged September 1945 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

 

 

 

D-Day, June 6, 1944  -  The Landing

 

The landing of the 4th Division troops took place in waves of different units.   Some hit Utah Beach on the Normandy Coast of France as early as 6:30 AM on June 6th.   Other groups followed throughout the day.  The turn to land for our LCT came later in the afternoon.  Roy Marshall was the driver of my jeep.   Erne, Tex, and others were on different boats and landed at different times.   We would meet up with the rest of the unit later on.   This was the first time we saw some of our Division men who had been wounded during the morning landing.   We could see the destruction and mayhem that had resulted from the earlier drive.   The approaches and landing zones were strewn with obstacles of all kinds to deter our drive to shore.

 

Other Beach landing sites, besides Utah, were Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.   The invasion was called Operation Overlord.    Other groups involved, beside our 4th Division, were the U. S. 1st Infantry Division, the British 50th Division, the Canadian 3rd Division and the British 3rd Division.    Some 150 thousand men from these groups made up the Operation Overlord invasion.   Thousands more would follow.