Friday marks 70 years since the allied invasion of France. More than 10,000 allied forces were killed, injured, or went missing in action during the invasion. But one local vet was lucky enough to make it back.
Earl Schuman of Merrill landed on Omaha Beach during day two of the allied invasion of Normandy.
"We landed, they weren't shooting when we landed, but there was bodies all around and in the water," Schuman remembered.
A member of the field artillery, Schuman's battery was in charge of setting up and firing the army's large guns.
"We went into gun position just a little ways up, off the beach," he said as he walked through the events of that day. "We didn't have a fire mission right away, but we expected the Germans to counter attack."
Members of Schuman's battery spotted tanks in the woods nearby. After a long first night and not much sleep, day two dawned with the impending threat of a German attack.
"They stuck me with a bazooka out in front," he said. "I had a bunch of Molotov cocktails all ready to throw down into one of the sunken roads that they have. In Normandy the roads were all below the fields, the sunken roads. That's where we figured German tanks would come up, so all I had to do was drop um down, the Molotov cocktails, on the tanks."
Lucky for Schuman, the Germans never got that close. An off-shore battleship, the USS Texas, blasted all the tanks.
Schuman and his battery were able to leave the beach only losing two of their own, but the loss of life Schuman witnessed that day is something he says will stay with him forever.
"It was just terrible to see something like that," Schuman said fighting tears. "To think that they, those guys that made the intial invasion, going right into that shell fire and bullets... it's something to think about."
Schuman was only 23-years-old when he landed on Omaha Beach. Now he's 94-years young. But he says remembers the day like it was yesterday and he wants everyone to remember the courage of those soldiers.
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