USS Thurston (AP-77) boarding staff 5th ESB (Engineer Special Brigade) for Omaha. In the background the Weymouth Pavilion; June 1944 (US National Archives)
Destroyed commissioner’s bungalow and tennis court, Kohima, India, Mar-Jul 1944 (Imperial War Museum)
75 Years Ago—31 May 1944: Countdown to D-day: In England, the loading of assault forces for Operation Overlord (D-day) begins for Force O (Omaha Beach).
At 0700, first “Corncob” blockships that will be sunk for “Gooseberry” breakwaters depart Britain, the first ships to sail for D-day.
Japanese Lt. Gen. Sato Kotoku orders withdrawal from Kohima, India against orders.
Army Rangers of the US 5th Ranger Battalion in an LCA landing craft about to board their troopship for D-day, Weymouth, England, 1 June 1944 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—30 May 1944: Countdown to D-day: In England, the loading of assault forces for Operation Overlord (D-day) begins for Force U (Utah Beach).
Germany approves the summary execution of downed Allied airmen who strafed passenger trains or civilians (“Terrorflieger”).
USS Block Island (CVE-21) off Norfolk, VA, 15 Oct 1943, with 9 FM-1 Wildcats and 12 TBF-1C Avengers (US Navy photo)
75 Years Ago—29 May 1944: Off Canary Islands, German U-boat U-549 sinks escort carrier USS Block Island, the only US carrier sunk in the Atlantic (6 killed); US destroyer escorts Ahrens and Eugene E. Elmore sink U-549 in return.
First tank battle is fought in the Southwest Pacific, on Biak Island off New Guinea (US defeats Japanese).
British Adm. Sir Bertram Ramsay, Allied Naval Commander for D-day, and US Navy Rear Admiral John Hall, commander of amphibious operations, aboard command ship USS Ancon, 25 May 1944 (US National Archives)
75 Years Ago—28 May 1944: Countdown to D-day: Gen. Dwight Eisenhower sets H-hours for each force.
At 1800, Adm. Sir Bertram Ramsay orders “execute Operation Neptune,” announcing D-day (June 5) and H-hour for each force.
Allied naval units for D-day go into lockdown with no one permitted to leave ships or bases.
US Coast Guardsman honors the fallen in the Pacific, Memorial Day, 30 May 1944 (US Coast Guard photo)
On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives in defense of our country.
We live in freedom because they fought tyranny.
We live without fear because they faced danger.
We live in comfort because they gave up all comforts.
We live because of their sacrifices.
Let’s never take these gifts for granted. They were purchased at high cost.
Over 1 million Americans have given their lives in war (Source: English, June A., Jones, Thomas D., Scholastic Encyclopedia of the United States at War, New York NY: Scholastic Reference, 1998).
- American Revolution: 4,435
- War of 1812: 2,260
- Mexican-American War: 13,283
- Civil War: 498,332
- Spanish-American War: 2,446
- World War I: 116,708
- World War II: 407,316
- Korean War: 33.651
- Vietnam War: 58,168
- Gulf War: 293
- War on Terrorism (Source: icasualties.org): 4571 in Iraq, 2426 in Afghanistan
On this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember. And take a moment to thank God for freedom and life.
US LSTs and LVT(A)s unloading at Biak, May 1944 (US Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—27 May 1944: Countdown to D-day: at night, the German Luftwaffe bombs Portland and Weymouth harbors, where Allied D-day forces are assembling; destroyer USS McCook is lightly damaged, but is repaired in time for D-day.
US 41st Infantry Division lands on Biak Island in Geelvink Bay of New Guinea and faces heavy resistance.
Patient being loaded into plane for air evacuation, Nettuno, Italy, June 1944 (US Army Office of Medical History)
75 Years Ago—26 May 1944: Gen. Mark Clark makes controversial decision to send the US Fifth Army toward Rome rather than to Valmontone to cut off the retreating Germans.
Countdown to D-day: Assembly of D-day assault forces in southern England is complete.
All rail bridges across the Seine north of Paris have been knocked out by Allied pre-invasion air raids and will remain so for 30 days.
US 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron begins air evacuation from Anzio-Nettuno.
German prisoners of war at Cisterna, Italy, 25 May 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—25 May 1944: US VI Corps from Anzio joins US II Corps from the Gustav Line, near Littoria, Italy.
US VI Corps takes Cisterna, Italy.
German paratroopers raid the hideout of Yugoslavian partisan leader Tito, almost capturing him—and visitor Randolph Churchill, son of Winston Churchill.
Countdown to D-day: Outgoing mail from US soldiers in in Britain is impounded until after D-day as a security precaution.
Map showing link-up of US II and VI Corps in Italy, 25 May 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)
Aerial view of Terracina, Italy, May 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—24 May 1944: US II Corps takes Terracina in Italy unopposed, opening Highway 7 to Anzio.
US patrol in Cisterna, Italy, 25 May 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—23 May 1944: In Italy Allies launch assault to break out at Anzio and cut Highway 7 below Cisterna.
In breakout from Anzio, US 3rd Division suffers 1000 casualties, among the costliest days for any US division of the war.