I am now (2005) 84 years old. I remember some things on that Day in Normandy, but some things are a little fuzzy. I spent two years in England helping to build a permanent air base, and preparing for the invasion of France. Along with several men, I crossed the English Channel on a small landing craft with a Gallion road scraper. It was midnight when we got on the boat, and we went to sleep. Upon waking, we were in sight of Normandy Beaches. When we hit the beach, I ran off the landing craft behind the blade of the road scraper to protect myself as best I could. The blade was sideways. We went straight to St. Lo.
Here we regrouped, and followed Patton's Army through Paris and up into Belgium. During the Battle of the Bulge, my outfit was pushed down to Nancy, France. When we got turned around, we went back to Belgium, and crossed into Germany at Aachen. When we were in Belgium, a young man was going to start up a gas stove. He had not put the cap to gas tank on straight. When he pumped 40# pressure, it exploded! His head was on fire, and I was petrified! A kitchen worker rolled him in a rug. He was evacuated to a hospital in an ambulance that was on the premises. He later retured to duty.
In Germany, I made a side trip into the Netherlands to deliver three bulldozers. We were supposed to be back in camp that night, but there was a long detour because of a bridge that had been blown out. So we stayed in a French farmhouse. The people lived on the second floor and the animals occupied the first floor. They had no food, so we went to a farmer's house and bartered for eggs. We filled Henry C. Harrell's helmet with candy bars and cigarettes and traded for enough eggs so that each man had 2 eggs. We filled my helmet with diesel fuel for the fire, and put the eggs in Harrell's helmet and filled it with water. Never did boiled eggs taste so good! Our helmets were black, but small price to pay for food. We were repairing runways in Germany, and it was my first time ever to drive a concrete truck. A German Colonel (prisoner) was in charge. I dumped the whole load in one place, instead of moving to spread it. It shot out and splattered the Colonel. He was mad, but couldn't say anything. We later became friends.
From there, we turned south and went to Vienna, Austria.In Vienna, four guys bought a general's official car. They went to Vienna on an overnight pass. I drove for them and took the car back to camp. I parked the car and went to bed. One of the men, who couldn't drive, took the car out and had an accident, so they took his keys away.
And then...HOME! You had to have 45 points to go home. I had 99 points, so had no problem being first from my outfit. We went to Paris to fly home, but had an accident and missed the plane. So they put us on a train to Antwerp, Belgium, where we boarded a freighter, and sailed for Boston, Massachusetts. From Boston, We boarded a train and went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was discharged at three o'clock in the morning, and got a ride to Raleigh (home).
My mother was one happy person, so was I! A short time later, I met the girl who was to become my wife. I played the piano and so did she. Her sister brought her over so she could hear me and that did it. We have been married 57 years, and I still love her very deeply.
Norris E. Green