At about 6:35 a.m. on this morning 70 years ago, my father Ralph E. Poore was hitting Utah Beach with the assault troops of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He was a 25-year-old sergeant from Laurel, Mississippi.
Although my father landed with the infantry, he was a member of one of three liaison units of the Headquarters Battery of the 29th Field Artillery. Members of the liaison unit acted as forward observers and traveled with the infantry rather than with the firing batteries.
My father survived D-Day and was in nearly continuous combat until February 1945, when he was awarded leave to go home. He returned to Europe the same week Germany surrendered. For his service in the war, my father was awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart and other medals.
My dad remained in the Army until 1949 when he returned to civilian life and settled in Mobile, Alabama.
Having survived the horrors of front-line combat in World War II, he died of a heart attack in 1976. He was just 57 years old.