The Deep-Mahogany Waters: 1944



The Deep-Mahogany Waters: 1944

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you…”

 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower


June 6, 1944 (D-Day)

            “Thirty seconds till drop!” My heart began pounding faster and faster. Adrenaline surged through my veins. The weight off my ruck sack began getting heavier making it harder to stand. My legs quivered. I just wanted to go home and have peace, but I might never get that again. I had never experienced love and still might never find it.

            “Fifteen seconds!” My stomach began to turn. A feeling of disgust instantly came upon me as I made a mess on the floor of the boat. Almost like a domino effect, nearly everyone kept piling onto the mess.

            “Go! Go! Go!” The doors dropped. Bullets rung through the air as they passed our limbs. Bodies kept stacking on top of each other as they tried to reach the cold Atlantic water. What was once beautiful clear water became dyed dark red.

            “Private Williams, what are you doing?” I could not move. My body froze in place as I saw the bloody massacre take place.

Finally, my body started to function. Looking to my right, I asked, “How are we supposed to get to the beach, Sir?”

            Almost instantly, Lieutenant Dan yells out, “Over the sides! Now!” I grabbed the top of the six-foot wall of the boat to pull myself up and get to the water. As I fell into the ocean, my ruck sack started pulling me down. I ripped it off, grabbed my gun (M1903 Springfield), and shot up to the surface grasping for air.

            “Private, get to the beach!” Lieutenant Dan demanded.

            “Sir, yes, Sir!” I replied almost out of instinct.

            As I looked at the beach, I saw my best friend, Private Billy Clark, pushing toward the bunkers. Almost effortlessly, he threw a grenade into the German trenches and sent four Germans into the air. Bullets were flew past him, but none ever struck him. He pulled out another grenade ready to hurl it at the enemy, but right once he cocked his arm back, he got shot in the bicep. The grenade fell right beside him. He looked around in horror and immediately jumped onto it. Everyone beside him dropped to the ground trying to minimize their chance of getting wounded. They waited for ten seconds, but nothing happened. Dud. Confused, he stood up. Gunfire rang through the air and bullets started piercing his torso taking little chunks out at a time. Almost instantaneously, his body split into two.

            Tears began to fall as I had just witnessed my best friend die. I grabbed my rifle, took aim, and fired. Miss. I pulled the bolt back and slid it forward vigorously, almost out of anger. I held my breath, looked down the scope, steadied my aim, and fired. The bullet pierced the soldier in the heart making him fly back. Even though I had just avenged my best friend, pain and suffering surged through my veins. I felt weak. Memories from my childhood with Billy began to flash through my head. One of them was when we had played in the corn field and got lost. We had to camp out there until dawn so we could find the way back to his house. Another one was when we were in Tarawa and found out about Zina Portnova and how she had killed so many Nazis.

            Out of nowhere, a stick grenade blew up ten feet away from me. My ears rang. Sand shot up into the air and showered over me. I looked to left only to see a horrific sight. Private Philips crawled to me for help. His legs were torn up with hardly any flesh left.  “Medic!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. But no one came. Not knowing what to do, I reached down searching for something to pull him by. I grabbed the back of his shirt and pulled with everything I had. About ten feet in, I looked down and saw no movement. He had died.

            The only thoughts that ran through my mind were that this was a death trap. We tried catching the Germans off guard, but they still out powered us. Our guns were no match for the multiple MG42 mounted inside the bunker. We could try and shoot at the gunner, but all they only had to hold their trigger and mow us down like we were nothing.

            I began to pray. I had never done that before, but I needed hope. I pleaded with God, “Lord, please help me get off this beach. I know I have never talked to you before, but I feel like now is a good time. I really need your help. I can’t do this alone.” Out of no where, a burst of energy ran through me. I got up and charged towards the bunkers.

            Once I got to the dunes, I immediately dropped to the ground. I was alone but did not feel alone. With God on my side, I steadied my breath just as I was taught in training and fired. Hit! I reloaded, took aim, and fired again. Another hit! Shot after shot, I kept getting hits.

            Twelve hours of brutal war later, which felt like an eternity, the Germans finally surrendered the beach. Relieved, I laid down. I looked toward the once-brown beach and became instantly overwhelmed. Thousands of bodies littered the beach, some still crying out in pain. Horrific.

            That night, I could hardly sleep. Flashbacks from bodies flying in the air and getting torn apart kept running through my head. Fear ran through my mind. Every time I would close my eyes, I would only see death. It haunted me. I was the only one left from my battalion. Everyone had either been shot, blown up, or drowned trying to escape the boat. They were all obliterated. Their blood dyed the crystal clear water to a thick, syrupy red.

*   *   *

“They fight not for the lust of Conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.”

– President Franklin D. Roosevelt

June 7, 1944 (D-Day +1)

            The next morning, I started scavenging for my comrades. No one could be found. My entire company was obliterated on the beach. Since I was the only survivor, I had to be placed into another (Able Company). With my luck, I had to leave to St. Lô in a few hours.

            As I marched to St. Lô, adrenaline flowed throughout my body once again. The look of horror upon everyone’s faces. We lost our comrades, friends, and family. Over 6,000 American soldiers had lost their lives on the beach.

            As we reached the city, Lieutenant Wilkins got shot in the chest from a sniper. Panic rang among us as we had no clue where it had come from. Another shot whistled past my head and hit Private White in the shoulder. “Does anyone have eyes on that German scum?” screamed Lieutenant Patterson.

            “I think he’s in the tower!” I cried out.

            “Do you have a shot?”

            “I need some cover fire so I can see where he is!”

            “Lieutenant Smith, you and your men run over to the church. My men and I will move to the apartments. When I raise my gun, open fire!”

            “Yes sir!” Lieutenant Smith replied.

            “Sir, I’m going to head up the stairs of the apartment and get a better shot.” I announced.


            I sprinted up the stairs stumbling on nearly every step. I went into an apartment and rushed to the window. As I laid down to get ready to find the sniper, Lieutenant Patterson lifted his gun. All hell broke lose. I steadied my breath, took aim, and a cold sensation seized through my veins. Everything faded to black.

Works Cited

Messages From General Eisenhower on Normandy D-Day.” n.d. Web. 29 Jan.                             2018.

Usatoday. “’They Fight Not for the Lust of Conquest. They Fight to End Conquest’.” USA Today,                     Gannett Satellite Information Network, 6 June 2014,  Web. 29 Jan.                           2018.


Bibliography Staff. “D-Day.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,                                          Web. 29 Jan. 2018.

Keegan, John. Normandy Invasion.Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,                                   23 Nov. 2017, Web. 29 Jan. 2018.

Gray, Peter and John Hill. D Day. McGraw-Hill, 1968. Print.

“D-Day and the Battle of Normandy: Your Questions Answered.” D-Day Museum,              n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2018.

“D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy.” History, 7 Sept. 2017,                          day/. Web. 29 Jan. 2018.