Monday, February 05, 2007

Airborne Courage

My Dad just got a book called "D-Day: The First 24 Hours" by Will Fowler. It seems to be pretty good. Flicking through it my attention was grabbed by some examples of first hand accounts scattered through the book. Those accounts were much more interesting to me than the specifics of the various battles and tactics. This one in particular stayed with me-

A sight that has never left my memory...was a picture story of the death of one 82nd Airborne trooper. He had occupied a German foxhole and made it his personal Alamo. In a half-circle around the hole lay the bodies of nine German soldiers. The body closest to the hole was only three feet away, a grenade in its fist. The other distorted forms lay where they had fallen, testimony to the ferocity of the fight. His ammunition bandoleers were still on his shoulders, empty...Cartridge cases littered the ground. His rifle stock was broken in two. He had fought alone and, like many that night, he had died alone.

Private John E. Fitzgerald
502nd PIR, 101st Airborne Division

I wonder who that soldier was and what his last moments were like. I wish I could find out more.

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