- Last Updated on 12:00 AM 06/04/10
- BY Staff
The date of June 6, 1944 has a more personal meaning to H.L. “Pete” Myers than most anyone else, and for good reason.
Myers, the only surviving soldier from “F” Company, 116th Regimental Combat Brigade that took part in the D-Day invasion, recalled events of that fateful day on the 66th anniversary of D-Day Sunday.
Myers said what he endured on that morning on the beaches of Normandy cannot be expressed in but so many words.
“We knew we were going into the invasion but didn’t know where or the exact date, and we trained so long we got tired of it to the point where we said, ‘let’s go,’” said Myers.
“There was so much aircraft and machinery and everything else in England that they said that we’d sink that little island.
“The last few days we couldn’t go out, couldn’t go in or talk to anybody but to us, and I knew we were going to the coast at any time,” Myers continued.
Frustrated by a 24-hour weather delay, Myers and the rest of F Company marched aboard a troop ship, which departed for the Normandy coast.
Burdened by almost 90 pounds of equipment, he and his fellow soldiers climbed down cargo nets into their respective landing crafts and circled an estimated one of two hours before lining up to go to the coast, Myers continued.
“We were told our Air Force would bomb the beach and knock out all the machine guns, pill boxes, land mines, booby traps, but because of cloudy conditions, missed and hit our own men,” said Myers.
“The beach was just as flat as this floor, and one man said there was not even a toothpick to hide behind.”
“F” Company lost 93 of almost 200 men killed and wounded the first day, according to Myers, who credited the battleships with eliminating a number of pillboxes and machine gun nests that day.
“I don’t see how anybody got through, shells were just blowing us everywhere,” recalled Myers.
“I got hit on the beach, and they were about to give us morphine, but about that same time another shell hit, and I never got any morphine.
He described the scene as horrific.
“People were hollering, crying, some getting blown to bits as I was lying there, arms and legs would come right by you, some were crying for their momma and daddy, some wanted to live, some wanted to die,” recalled Myers.
The allies put almost 150,000 men on the beach that first day and established the beachhead that night, but a great number of soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day.
“The next day, you couldn’t walk up or down the beach without stepping on bodies which had flies on them and were turning dark,” Myers explained.
“It was a horrible sight to see.
“Some ask why we lay wounded for so long on the beach without treatment, but there were only two medics for 200 men, and they got killed or wounded the same as we did.”
Myers, who spent several months recuperating from his wounds both in England and back home, said he often wonders why he’s the only one left standing of the 93 soldiers who went ashore that day.
“Thank the good Lord and everybody for being so nice and watching over me.”