D-Day was 67 years ago Monday, yet Vincent Raio and Bernard Rosenthal, of Pleasantville, remember it just like it was yesterday.
Raio, one of five brothers in the service, was a combat engineer on D-Day, which was originally set for June 5 but the seas were too rough so Operation Neptune, as its also known, was delayed one day.
Raio set off at 6:30 a.m. under the leadership of General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. We were the first ones on the beach, us Combat Engineers and [Roosevelt] said, OK, lets start the war here. Then we started moving inland.
Raios duty as a combat engineer was to blow up the obstacles on the beach.
There was a lot of artillery fire coming in, Raio said. I was lucky really. The navy was firing rockets, planes flying overhead, thousands of paratroopers coming down. Thats all I remember. There was so much commotion going on.
Rosenthal arrived in Normandy a month later but said he had a close connection to the invasion.
I had two brothers that were there, he said. My brother Manuel was at Omaha beach. He was wounded. He was hiding in a slip trench and an 8mm cannon with the metal explosion hit him with the shrapnel.
Rosenthal was enlisted on D-Day, but he had not been deployed yet. From what I had heard, I wasnt supposed to ship out until I was 19, he said. On my 19th birthday, June 14, I was in a holding ship in New York harbor just about ready to ship out A month after D-Day, I came to Omaha Beach in Normandy and I had to walk very carefully because the whole beach was loaded with mines left by the Germans.
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