6-6-07 10:06 PM
On June 6, 1944 Henry Vernon, Mic Dugan and Bob Sanders were among more than 160,000 soldiers who landed along the coastlines of the Normandy beaches. They engaged in war with Germany on what is known as D Day. Sixty three years later the men share their stories of blood, death and perseverance.
Sergeant First Class Henry Vernon of the 116th Infantry Regiment wears a hat and keeps a map of Omaha Beach, often referred to as the bloodiest beach landing on D Day, where he spent 43 days fighting. On his first night of battle, Vernon recalled trudging through neck deep water, ducking gunfire and using torpedoes to blast through barb wire.
"The Germans bombed us that night, coming over us with planes. But they didn't stay very long because our anti-air craft drove them off," said Vernon.
In the early hours of D Day, Mic Dugan, a member of the 501st Parachute Infantry, landed in the small village of Ste. Marie du Mont in Normandy. Dugan and four others spent four days lost before encountering in battle, where they successfully completed an attack at Carentan.
But not before Dugan was injured.
"All of sudden, "Bam." My foot jerked off the ground and that's when I started to say to everyone, that's the best damn thing every happen to me," said Dugan.
Colonel Bob Sanders of the 29th Infantry Division arrived in Normandy one day after D Day. Sanders was shot in the right arm while at war. The need for soldiers forced Sanders to continue fighting. While on the ground ducking from bullets, Sanders found a helmet, an American helmet with a soldier's head inside.
"I thought that was a startling mistake for me to see that, but that was my introduction to the horrors of war," said Sanders.
Nearly 1,500 soldiers lost their lives on D Day and nearly 2,000 were missing in action.