Five Famous People Who Fought On D-Day
With this being the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy (June 6, 1944), we thought we’d bring you a group of famous people that landed on the beaches there, that morning. When we think of people fighting in a war, we imagine our family members and normal people who make up the bulk of our armed services, yet there were some famous people who stood up to do their duty on this “Longest Day”. Here are there stories:
This author of Catcher In The Rye, was another of the D-Day combatants who stormed Utah Beach. He interrogated Nazi prisoners, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was one of the first of our soldiers to enter the concentration camp at Dachau. He served with the U.S. Army Signal Corp and Counter-Intelligence Corps. This is quite an illustrious military record for someone who is known for going against the grain of society. You can see some of his angst about the war in his writing and his daughter claimed that he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome.
We’ve all heard the CCR song, Fortunate Son, about politician’s children that are not required to serve during war times in the off-chance that they might be killed. That rule obviously didn’t apply during World War Two, however. Enter Teddy Roosevelt’s son. Teddy was President of the United States at the turn of the century and was famous for making his historic ride up San Juan hill during the Spanish-American War. Not to be outdone, his son, Theodore Jr., defied all his father and the military told him and charged the beaches of Normandy at Utah Beach – with a cane and a pistol. He was the only general in the U.S. Army to attack in the first wave AND he was the oldest person – at age 57 to be in the attack at all! Junior suffered from a bum leg, due to arthritis from old World War One injuries, and he wasn’t going to let a little thing like a limp stop him from the battle. He wouldn’t survive to see the end of the war, however. He died one month later – from a heart attack.
While technically not a combatant on D-Day, John Ford, the famous movie director who filmed many of John Wayne’s movies crossed the English Channel that day and was stationed off of Omaha Beach on the U.S.S. Plunkett. He witnessed the first waves of men landing on the beaches and later came ashore that same day, filming the battle along with the US Coast Guard, while they stood behind obstacles. He would later go on to be a Rear Admiral in the US Navy Reserve and film such great movies as: The Longest Day (1962); Tora, Tora, Tora (1970); and Midway (1976). Ford was wounded during the Battle of Midway and received the Purple Heart.
Long before he helped save the galaxy from the evil Empire Forces led by Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi was transporting British troops in a landing craft onto the beaches of Normandy. He volunteered to be in the Royal Navy Reserve, but later found himself drafted into the real deal, as bullets whizzed around him on that fateful day. Later, he would go onto perform in other World War Two movies, including the classic, Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957).
What you may not know about Scotty, the Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise is that before he beamed anyone up, he was one of the first Canadian officers to lead his men up the hill at Juno Beach and take out two snipers as they crossed a minefield. He was hit six times by machine gun bullets that evening (including one which severed his right middle finger, and a chest shot which was stopped by his cigarette case), he would later transfer and train with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and learn to fly an artillery observation plane, becoming notorious for slaloming between telegraph poles to show it could be done.