Update, May 2002: My 4th book: '101st Airborne-The Screaming Eagles at Normandy' is now available directly from the webmaster-see Books page. This hardcover work debuted in April of 2001 and contains totally different material in stories and photos from my 1st book with a similar title. It is filled with facts, and stories which were never told before, and rare photos of 101st troopers IN Normandy which are not available anywhere else. Some 200 of these photos are being shown to the public for the first time since WW2. The author has interviewed over 900 WW2 vets of the 101st Airborne over a 30 year time period and many have shared their personal photos and stories to make this book possible. No other book on the subject has this unique combination of features.
If you enjoyed the miniseries and want to learn more about what the entire 101st Division experienced and accomplished in the great D-Day invasion, you'll devour the contents of this book. You can also order from Amazon.com, from the MBI warehouse at 1-800-458-0454, or find it at most Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, or Books a Million retail stores.
In a few hours I'm going to take the best company of men in the world into France. We'll give the bastards hell. Strangely, I'm not particularly scared. But in my heart is a terrific longing to hold you in my arms. I love you Sweetheart-forever. Your Tom
The plane bearing Lt Meehan and his entire stick of jumpers was hit by German ground fire near St Mere Eglise. All aboard were lost when the plane went-in between Beuzeville au Plain and Haut Fornel. A monument was dedicated on 6 June 2000, at Beuzeville, listing the names of those aboard. Excerpts from a thoughtful letter written by Lt Meehan, plus more biographical information, can be found posted by Barrie on the AWON website (see Links). Courtesy Barrie Meehan Meller and Dan Potter-posted by the webmaster on Tom Meehan's birthday, July 9th(2001).
About a dozen soldiers were decorated for this crucial action, which no doubt saved many American lives among the seaborne forces landing at Exit #2. Lt R.D. Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross, and Pfc Loraine was among the soldiers who received the Silver Star. Loraine's Citation appears below. The wording of the citation may be misleading, as the beach was over five miles distant, not at "close range". This made direct observation by the enemy gunners impossible. The guns were sited on the shoreline, depending on radio communications from observers closer to the Channel for adjustments. Also bear in mind that the enemy battery probably consisted of 105's rather than 88mm artillery. Above photo courtesy F. Raine Remsberg, Bando f Brothers tour, 2000.
Webmaster's note: Gerald Loraine received a second Silver Star Medal for actions in Holland and in postwar years, he claimed to be the first member of the 101st Airborne to win that medal twice-I cannot verify that he was the first to accomplish that, and Fred Bahlau would be a close second.
Another note from the webmaster-on my last 2 visits to this area (1999 and 2000), I was disappointed to see on the ground between the south end of the treeline and the entrance to Brecourt Manor, a huge pile of that blight of modern civilization: discarded tires! Somehow it seems an out-of-place desecration to this hallowed ground. But life goes on for farmers in France. For fifty years after D-Day, no errection of new buildings was allowed in the Cotentin, behind Utah Beach. I can attest that in 1989, on my first visit, things were still pretty primitive. But in just 12 years since that time, many new houses and business places have sprung-up in the area between the north edge of Carentan, and the village of Ravenoville. It is a shame, but for example, 'Gillis' Corner' at the edge of DZ 'D' at la Haute Addeville now has two new houses built there, and someday will just be the corner of some residential street. Will future French residents ever realize the American blood that was shed on their block for the liberation of their country? In 2000, I told the residents of the house at Gillis' Corner that Pfc James J. Luce of F/501 was fatally wounded about 50 feet from their front door.
Above, one of Pat Christenson's wonderful sketches, reconstructing an incident in Holland. "Hans Pumpernikle" (ha!) is obviously a German Fallschirmjager (parachutist). Jack appears to be armed with a big hawg leg, in the form of a WW1 vintage .45 revolver. This hilarious sketch graced the cover of the Five-0-Sink Newsletter in June, 1989.