As Department Veterans History Project Officer under Commander Tom Glenn, I interviewed Sam Alemian, 27th Infantry Anti Tank Gun Operator.
Sam was in the first wave at Normandy dodging bullets by taking cover behind the steel obstructions planted on the beach designed to stop the flow of forces storming the beaches. He swan, dodged and clawed his way to the beach with only his rifle; he had to drop everything else to stop from being towed into the sea. He told me,
“We were supposed to have fox holes blown into the beach by Navy shells shot from the battleships. The holes that were supposed to be blown by impact from the shells would have given us cover. But that didn’t happen because the shells went sailing way over us – a nice fireworks display, but little else.”
“All I had was my rifle and an anti-tank gun. We weren’t well equipped. The Anti-tank gun threw a charge against the German tanks and then bounced off. All the gun did was to expose us to fire, little else.”
At the end of the tortuous interview and painful memories, I asked Sam, “With all these shortcomings and near disaster, Sam, how did you all make it through this living hell?” Sam answered, with tears coming through a sad smile on his face, “It was the courage that made us do it. We had to do it. We all had courage that we never knew we had.”
Sam passed on after my interview, but I will never forget his words.
On this 74th Anniversary of the landing and assault on Normandy’s Fortress Europe, may we forever remember and honor the courage of those brave men like Sal Alemian, those in the 26th and 27th Infantry Division, and everyone in the U.S. Army who brought the maniac animal Hitler to cremate himself while plunging the world into greater chaos. May God bless Sam and his Band of Brothers and give us the vision to preserve and protect our blessed country for which they sacrificed.
Gregory H. Arabian, Major, USAF HD
Commander, Belmont AMVETS Post 2008
1st Vice Commander, AMVETS District 5
22 Homer Road – Headquarters
Belmont, MA 02478
Commander’s Office: 617-744-6778
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