1st Infantry Division, 16th Infantry Regiment, Company B
We left the Chase for the last time and went in single file to our rendezvous area, following the little light on the stern of the craft ahead of us. The light would disappear and then reappear as we rose and fell with the waves. The water was getting rough. I thought several times we would crash into the craft ahead as we came upon them and would have to back off. I could see the trail of phosphorus the craft was leaving behind and I thought the Germans must be able to see it too, and pinpoint us
|I was looking over the side often during these last minutes. We were moving slow because of other craft and obstacles the Coxswain had to avoid. I saw direct hits on craft still far away from land. I doubt those on board not wounded made it to shore. I saw craft sideways, being upturned, and dumping troops into the water. I saw craft heavily damaged by shellfire being tossed around by the waves. I saw craft empty of troops and partly filled with water as though abandoned, awash in the surf. Men were among them struggling for the pitiful protection they gave. Recalling my feelings of those last couple of minutes I became very calm and was analyzing things surprisingly well. I was looking back at the men, making sure that they were down and in their places and ready. I remember how calm and intent the Coxswain was as he guided our craft in. I cannot give this man enough credit. I often think he must have calmed me some. It was surprising how few machine gun bullets hit our craft. I kept listening for them to hit because they certainly were flying overhead and hitting the water around us. It could have been the direct approach to the beach making us a smaller target at that point. The Coxswain did a superb job....