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On anniversary of invasion, veterans recall deadly day

For D-Day veterans H.L. “Pete” Myers and W.R. Snead, Thursday’s wreath-laying at the Company “F” Memorial at the National Guard Armory in South Boston brought back memories, some too poignant to ignore.

“Breakfast was a lot nicer this morning than it was 69 years ago today,” remarked Myers, who awoke at 3 a.m. the morning of the invasion to help distribute apples and bananas to his fellow troopers aboard a ship bound for Omaha Beach.

Myers, part of the 116 Regimental Combat Brigade, 29th Infantry Division, went ashore on the first wave that morning in Normandy.

He was wounded by an 88 mm artillery round and would be hospitalized for 17 months in England and the United States.

Snead, an amphibious engineer whose brigade was attached to the 29th Infantry Division, went ashore early in the afternoon of D-Day. 

Due to rough weather and choppy seas, a lot of the invasion force was seasick by the time they deployed for the beach.

“I was too scared to be sick,” said Myers, who along with Snead carried a large amount of equipment ashore, Myers in possession of three Bangalore torpedoes weighing about 15 pounds each.

Snead bore a pack weighing 60 pounds when he hit the beach, and it was the gruesome task of Snead and his compatriots to pick up the dead along the beaches of Normandy.

A lot of their buddies did not make it through the first day of fighting, with “F” Company suffering approximately 70 killed or wounded on the first day of the invasion out of a total of 200 men, according to Myers. 

Both Myers and Snead celebrate birthdays in July, and both expressed gratitude they had at least one more to acknowledge.