Black soldiers on D-Day: “We Were There.”

woodson-209x300Waverly B. Woodson, Jr was a medic on D-Day.  Despite his own injuries from a mine explosion, Woodson continued to treat other wounded soldiers for 30 hours.   His actions, chronicled by his white superior officer, earned him a Bronze Star.    But Woodson is only one of many black soldiers who acted out of duty and honor to their uniform.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Allied forces executed a massive invasion along a 50-mile stretch of coastline in northern France occupied by Hitler’s so-called Fortress Europe.  D-Day was a massive operation, the largest amphibious force in American military history, and involved 5,000 ships and landing craft, 160,000 troops and 11,000 aircraft providing support.  D-day-NormandyFour thousand Allied troops died in the Normandy invasion and thousands more were wounded or missing as troops scrambled ashore drawing machine-gun fire from the cliffs above the beach.    Omaha and Utah beaches were assigned to U.S. Forces.  The U.S. First Army Division faced heavy opposition on Omaha Beach where Black Soldiers at D-Day2,000 American soldiers died.  On that morning, seventy-one years ago, Negro soldiers did their part with tenacity, adaptability and bold action.  Some 1,700 black troops were part of the First Army including the 327th Quartermaster Service Company and the 320th Anti-Aircraft Barrage Balloon Battalion, which used helium-filled balloons tethered to explosives to thwart German aerial attacks. 

 

 

A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day  is a 2007 History Channel documentary which brings to life, through first-person testimonials, the challenges of black troops on D-Day.    “You see movies and stuff.  The Longest Day, you don’t see know African Americans.  Private Ryan, no African Americans….but we were there!”

On this day of commemoration of D-Day.  I salute these unsung heroes.        

Buffalo Soldiers Still Remembered

Great to meet and be interviewed by the fabulous Maggie Linton this week at the SiriusXM studios -The Maggie Linton Show.  We discussed my book:  Long Way Home:  A World War II Novel.

MaggieLintonShow

Maggie’s father served in both WWII and the Korean War and was a member of one of the African American military units (Buffalo Soldiers) at Fort Leavenworth.

Buffalo-Soldier-Statue

The Buffalo Soldier Monument was an idea that originated with retired Gen. Colin Powell when he was assigned to Fort Leavenworth in the early 1980s as a brigadier general. He believed something should be done to recognize the contributions and achievements of the Buffalo Soldier units.

See more at: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article1607698.html

 

 

 

 

World War 2 History: Sobibor

Author’s Note:  My first book:  Long Way Home: A World War II Novel has made me an interested researcher about the Great War.   From time to time, I stumble across information about this global event which I will share on this blog.

 images-2

In October 1943 the prisoners of Sobibor death camp in Poland planned and carried out a revolt against their Nazi captors.  It was the most successful escape from a concentration camp. 

 

 References

The Times of Israel.  “70 years after revolt, Sobibor Secrets are Yet to be Unearthed.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/70-years-after-revolt-sobibor-secrets-are-yet-to-be-unearthed/

Blatt, Thomas Toivi. From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1997.

Caplan, Richelle Budd. “Escape under Fire: The Sobibor Uprising.” 2004. Yad Vashem On-line Magazine. Yad Vashem The Holocaust

Piccirillo, Ryan. “The Sobibor Revolt: ‘Death to the Fascists’. http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/285/the-sobibor-revolt-death-to-the-fascists