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SGT Stanley Aeck, HQ Co 116 IR 29 ID, Second Wave Dog Green, nominated for MoH

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Hello everyone, today I get to share with you a very special uniform I received from a good friend of mine. We both are very involved with using our collections in public displays for education and felt this piece truly deserved to play a role in that, thus I have been entrusted with its care and thought I would first practice telling his story on here.


Stanley Vincent Aeck was born in Sioux City, Iowa on 9 April 1916. A grocer and store clerk with the local Sherman Fruit Company, life was busy but predictable in the growing city. As he worked vending, packing, and distributing his fruits, Aeck followed the rise of Hitler and the growing global tensions through his radio and newspapers. Although satisfied with his job, Aeck felt called to do something more and decided to enlist in the United States Army in April of 1941. Inducted in Omaha, Nebraska, now Private Aeck trained at Camp Claibourne, LA before traveling to Ireland in January of 1942 with the 34th Infantry Division. From Ireland he shipped out to England where he became a member of the 29th Infantry Division. Trained in no specialty, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion Headquarters of the 116th Infantry Regiment where he was to work as a clerk in the staff personnel. It was here that he quickly became the personal aid of Colonel John Metcalf and was assigned to handle the many logistical and organizational issues of the battalion as the 29th began the field exercises preparing them for the inevitable invasion. Aeck got very close to Metcalf and their friendship would last throughout the war.


On June 1st, 1944, the time had come. After years of training and operations in England the invasion for which they had long-prepared had arrived. Moved to Portland Harbor near Dorset, England, Aeck and the men of the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment boarded the S.S. EMPIRE JAVELIN, a British transport, for the beginning of what would become most of the men’s final journey. The ship was quickly crowded but the crew and GIs got along well. Most interaction was silent as the men could not be sure whether this was just another exercise or the real thing. This time, however, the air was quite different. It dawned upon Aeck and the rest of the 1st Battalion that the next few days aboard may well be their final days on earth. As the invasion convoy began to come together, the massive fleet began its journey to the French coast and after holding off for the weather, prepared for debarkation and invasion.


No one on board knew what section of the beach they would hit until the night of June 4th, when they were told that Dog Green would be their designated area. At 1600 on June 5th, the EMPIRE JAVELIN formed up with the other ships of Assault Force “O” and anchored off Omaha Beach around 0330 on June 6th, about 21,000 yards off the shore. It was around 0500 when the first wave of men, primarily Company A, boarded their LCAs and LCVPs to land precisely at H-Hour, 0630. Aeck, loaded down with his rifle and gear, stood near Metcalf as they both watched the first boats make their way to the now not-so-distant shore. The deck was silent. The men knew they had a job to do and that it had finally come time to do it. Aeck, along with Metcalf, 14 other men from the HQ Company of the 1st Battalion, and a handful of other officers for other units landing in the following waves, boarded one of the ship’s LCAs around 0640 in preparation for their landing. The boat was planned to hit the beach at H+40 and the men did not have time to wait and hear reports on the status of the first wave. Going in nearly blind, the three boats carrying the men of HQ Company made their way towards the Normandy bluffs.


It was at this point that the trouble began, the three boats did not come in on a line, but were launched a few minutes apart, giving the Germans a perfect opportunity to concentrate fire on each boat individually as they reached the shore. Colonel Metcalf and Aeck were in the first of the boats to arrive. They met no heavy German concentration on the ride to the beach, only some light automatic fire. Like the other waves of the 1st Battalion, the HQ Company was brought in on the wrong section of beach, several hundred yards west of the sector and under the large cliffs west of Vierville. This section of the beach had seen no troops in the first wave and was far away from any remaining survivors. Isolated and alone, Aeck and the first boat hit a sandbar just off the beach to a storm of machine gun and sniper fire. The men had prepared to disembark in three files, with the center going first. As the ship got stuck, however, the organization quickly fell apart. Some of the men began jumping over the side of the ship into 5 ft water. Running up to the closest defilade with full equipment attached, many were killed in the crossfire which was now peppering the sandbar with lead. Those who went out in the first file from the front of the boat were killed almost immediately. The CO of the 58th Field Artillery was hit as he stepped from the boat and died in the water. Captain Robert Ware, MC, was hit as he got to the sand. Lieutenant James Limber, Battalion S2, was wounded in both legs while getting through the water and was then hit by a shell fragment between the eyes while crawling to the shore. Aeck and the surviving soldiers began to break any way they could to avoid the constant machine gun fire. Aeck’s boat was typical of the company experience and the other two landing craft, and by the end of the first day, all but two of the men lost in HQ Company were officers or non-coms.


The beach ahead was fat, barren, and coverless for about 100 yards where it ran into a cliff. Metcalf, Aeck, and the surviving soldiers ran nonstop to the cliff base as neverceasing German fire poured into their scattered ranks. At this point only around 24 men remained from the original 29. Crossing the beach however, cost 6 more men their lives and found half of the remaining troops wounded. Reaching the base of the cliff, still loaded with packs and having not fired a shot, Aeck and the 7 remaining survivors plunged behind a series of boulders which barely blocked them from the sight of the German machine guns. Pinned down, the group was quickly immobilized and deprived of any organization. Luckily, their radio was still intact. The other two boats of the HQ Company hit a hundred or so yards away from Aeck’s, and when their survivors reached whatever cover they could find under the cliff, the groups began communicating with each other through radio contact. For the vast majority of the first day of the invasion this was the situation of HQ Company.


Aeck’s group found no rest from the German guns, describing the fire hitting the boulders as “heavy and almost unceasing.” After securing their position, Aeck and two other remaining privates began making several excursions to sally from behind the boulders and pull in wounded men. Managing to rescue 2 or 3, Aeck was eventually driven back by the hail of bullets reminding him of his situation. It was at this point then, destroyer fire against Point de Rez began affecting the group, burying some of the men under a collapse of earth who were then dug out by the others under machine gun fire. For the next several hours Aeck, Metcalf, and the others sat behind their boulders in hopes of deliverance. Around 1400, this deliverance came. It is unknown whether the Germans retreated or were killed by allied reinforcements, but the fire eventually stopped. Moving cautiously, Aeck began tending to the wounded before shoving off towards the battalion objective of Vierville, which had by now been secured by the other soldiers at Dog Green proper.


On D-Day, HQ Company of the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, suffered major losses with nearly all officers and NCOs killed or wounded. Aeck was one of the few survivors but continued with Metcalf to organize the 1st Battalions drive into Normandy. Replacements eventually arrived from other companies, but of all the units to land on Omaha, HQ of the 1st was one of the hardest hit. Isolated and under heavy fire, their experience on the beachhead was disastrous. They reorganized quickly, however, and continued to secure the gains made on the first day.


Aeck would go on to serve another 8 months with the 29th Division as Colonel Metcalf’s personal aid. Fighting at places like Vierville, Brest, Aachen, St. Lo, and countless others, Aeck saw some of the worst action of the European Theater from its first hours until the fighting neared its end as they drove into Germany. For his actions on Omaha Beach in securing the line and saving the lives of his fellow men, Aeck was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor by Colonel Metcalf. The award would go unreceived, however, as Metcalf was wounded and died a month later in an English hospital, with Aeck right by his side. As two of the only survivors by that point in the war, no one could truly vouch for his medal to General Marshall and Aeck went home with his highest award being the Good Conduct Medal. Having served since 1940, Aeck was given the opportunity to leave early and transferred back to the states in late February of 1945. Getting two months of light duty and leave, Aeck met his future wife, Rose, while attending a USO show one evening at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Aeck was discharged in May of 1945 at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri and would marry Rose in 1946. The couple settled back in his hometown of Sioux City and then to Issaquah, Washington where they established a kennel and began training national award-winning dogs. Aeck passed away in 1996.


To be entrusted with this uniform has been one of my greatest honors. Aeck was one of the very few men who made the “Great Crusade” possible from its opening hours and survived to tell the tale. This is a piece I will long love and cherish, using his story to educate the future and current generations for years to come. I hope you all enjoy this significant piece of American history and the sacrifices he made that we may retain our freedom.


Best,
Alex

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The S.S. Empire Javelin
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The misplaced landings of HQ Company
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I could not find an exact picture of the boulders, but this is near the stretch of cliff
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LCA 1063 was one from the Empire Javelin used to land elements of the 1st Battalion
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Photos of Aeck
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Article from his enlistment
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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Very nice grouping and thanks for posting.

 

Question for you: Did Metcalf put any statement into the official record concerning the MOH nomination..? Did any communication about this move up the chain of command at all...?


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Very nice grouping and thanks for posting.

 

Question for you: Did Metcalf put any statement into the official record concerning the MOH nomination..? Did any communication about this move up the chain of command at all...?

I am not sure if he was able to or not, if he did it would have been in that month between DDay and his death. From what I know, there was an article written after the war called 33 GIs Who Saved DDay which was authored by General Marshall. Aeck says that the specific details about the actions he did and the nomination are mentioned in this but I have been unable to locate it. He did state that Marshall turned the award down, so I am guessing the citation was submitted officially at some point.


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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What kind of jacket is that? I have never seen anything like it before. Am I seeing it right, a waist band with a very short skirt below and no bottom pockets? Or is it modifies into an Ike and that is the shirt tail I see hanging out below?


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What kind of jacket is that? I have never seen anything like it before. Am I seeing it right, a waist band with a very short skirt below and no bottom pockets? Or is it modifies into an Ike and that is the shirt tail I see hanging out below?

 

It is a very heavily modified four pocket tunic. He was 5' 11'' so I am not sure whether the "skirt" part was simply meant to extend the jacket or if it was meant to be tucked into the pants, but I believe the former. It is not a shirt tail or anything, but seems to be part of a four pocket that had been cut and resewn underneath the new waistband that was created by the tailor.


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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That is a wonderful uniform and a better history with it. I love seeing 29th Division items because one of my greatuncles was killed at Brest with the 29th Division so I have a somewhat personal connection to it.


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I am not sure if he was able to or not, if he did it would have been in that month between DDay and his death. From what I know, there was an article written after the war called 33 GIs Who Saved DDay which was authored by General Marshall. Aeck says that the specific details about the actions he did and the nomination are mentioned in this but I have been unable to locate it. He did state that Marshall turned the award down, so I am guessing the citation was submitted officially at some point.

I find it a bit odd that if the actions took place as described, that nothing below a MOH was considered for him— numerous soldiers earned valor awards on 6 June, lots of Bronze Stars, Silver Stars......and there were 22 DSC’s awarded to 116th soldiers, most if not all on 6 June.

 

I guess it could have been just how the circumstances took place, and it just wasn’t meant to be.


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I find it a bit odd that if the actions took place as described, that nothing below a MOH was considered for him— numerous soldiers earned valor awards on 6 June, lots of Bronze Stars, Silver Stars......and there were 22 DSC’s awarded to 116th soldiers, most if not all on 6 June.

 

I guess it could have been just how the circumstances took place, and it just wasn’t meant to be.

I think that is likely the case. With the unique situation of not many witnesses or survivors on their section of the beach, the death of the colonel, the level of award, and the amounts he tried to issue) I believe he tried to nominate 33 men for higher awards is why the article is titled that) that it got mixed up in the batch. In a brief synopsis Aeck wrote he mentions having 3 or 4 Bronze Stars (and so does his obituary) but from its placement in that statement (mentioned in the same place he talks about the number of months served overseas and the time with the unit) I believe this to be the common misstatement referring to his campaign stars. If there are any 29th division archives I’d love to see if they have anything on him or possibly the nomination, but as far as I know he became a clerk after the colonel died and served as an HQ Company staffer for the next 7th months after


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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I think that is likely the case. With the unique situation of not many witnesses or survivors on their section of the beach, the death of the colonel, the level of award, and the amounts he tried to issue) I believe he tried to nominate 33 men for higher awards is why the article is titled that) that it got mixed up in the batch. In a brief synopsis Aeck wrote he mentions having 3 or 4 Bronze Stars (and so does his obituary) but from its placement in that statement (mentioned in the same place he talks about the number of months served overseas and the time with the unit) I believe this to be the common misstatement referring to his campaign stars. If there are any 29th division archives I’d love to see if they have anything on him or possibly the nomination, but as far as I know he became a clerk after the colonel died and served as an HQ Company staffer for the next 7th months after

A couple others along with myself are looking into what the documents say, and we shall see what comes up when we get into the weeds......what we know to start within the reports is that his rank is never indicated as a SGT or a promotion to SGT, but does show a promotion to PFC from PVT in late December 1944 and his MOS was that of an admin. He was still a PFC in Feb. 1945 when rotated home for 3 months TDY at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, and stayed that way until dropped from the personnel rosters on 21 May 1945.

 

Also, the reports do not indicate any travel by him from the Battalion to England to be with Metcalf, so that’s another thing......so on we go.

 

As an aide or clerk to the Bn. Commander, he would very likely be in the position of processing the requests for valor awards, including his own......we shall see where this leads.


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A couple others along with myself are looking into what the documents say, and we shall see what comes up when we get into the weeds......what we know to start within the reports is that his rank is never indicated as a SGT or a promotion to SGT, but does show a promotion to PFC from PVT in late December 1944 and his MOS was that of an admin. He was still a PFC in Feb. 1945 when rotated home for 3 months TDY at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, and stayed that way until dropped from the personnel rosters on 21 May 1945.

 

Also, the reports do not indicate any travel by him from the Battalion to England to be with Metcalf, so that’s another thing......so on we go.

 

As an aide or clerk to the Bn. Commander, he would very likely be in the position of processing the requests for valor awards, including his own......we shall see where this leads.

I appreciate the help! I had looked at those online reports the association have and I think the parts mentioned are simply missing elements of the compiled records. I have other 115th uniforms that came with original documents that the online resource does not line up with perfectly or entirely. I’ve attached below the excerpt from Aecks personal testimony I found where he mentions several of these things. The Sergeant rank I imagine may have come as a last-minute sort of discharge thing, bumping him to NCO before getting out completely which I have seen happen before. In his account he also mentions remaining with Metcalf and rejoining HQ afterwards. If you can find valor awards he would have had please do let me know, I would love to see.

 

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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I wonder if the George Marshall Library would ha e a copy of this article in their archives, or perhaps other documentation supporting this roster of 33.

 

Kyle


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I appreciate the help! I had looked at those online reports the association have and I think the parts mentioned are simply missing elements of the compiled records. I have other 115th uniforms that came with original documents that the online resource does not line up with perfectly or entirely. I’ve attached below the excerpt from Aecks personal testimony I found where he mentions several of these things. The Sergeant rank I imagine may have come as a last-minute sort of discharge thing, bumping him to NCO before getting out completely which I have seen happen before. In his account he also mentions remaining with Metcalf and rejoining HQ afterwards. If you can find valor awards he would have had please do let me know, I would love to see.

 

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My advice to you at this point would be to contact Geoff at Golden Arrow Research with Aeck's full name and service number and see what he can find out about him thru the records center in St. Louis....if he was made a SGT while at Jefferson Barracks and separated from the Army as a SGT, it will show up there, along with a copy of his DD 214. Once he left the Regiment there would be no reporting of his activities in their record as he was no longer under the 116th's command.

 

IMO if the records still exist they will tell the story of what all went down with his service record.

 


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My advice to you at this point would be to contact Geoff at Golden Arrow Research with Aeck's full name and service number and see what he can find out about him thru the records center in St. Louis....if he was made a SGT while at Jefferson Barracks and separated from the Army as a SGT, it will show up there, along with a copy of his DD 214. Once he left the Regiment there would be no reporting of his activities in their record as he was no longer under the 116th's command.

 

IMO if the records still exist they will tell the story of what all went down with his service record.

 

Much thanks for your help, Ill have to reach out to a friend of mine who does work in the archives and see what can be found. If the sergeant stripes were added later, I too would like to know and replace them with what Aeck would have worn. I have attached a photo of the name inside, it passes all the tests and seems to have been there for a long time. As an early enlistee and spending so much time in England I can see him taking the time to tailor his four pocket to match the changing styles. I appreciate the help and hopefully we can clear up the MOH mystery


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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I wonder if the George Marshall Library would ha e a copy of this article in their archives, or perhaps other documentation supporting this roster of 33.

 

Kyle

Thanks or the tip! Would you happen to have the contact info for the library? If so feel free to pm me with it and I will definitely give it a look.


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Posted Image

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Just got this today which helps shed a little more light on Aecks story. I managed to find the article he mentions, which was actually called “Forgotten GIs Who Saved D-Day.” It was written for the British men’s magazine “Saga” for the 20th anniversary of the invasion by famed historian, General S.L.A Marshall. He contextualizes the story by describing how many of the awards for the invasion were lost in paperwork and could not be awarded or evaluated until after the war. In these evaluations, he disagreed with Ike on whether or not the 1st ID should be given the PUC for their actions on Normandy and generally disapproved most of the suggested awards. Believing they shouldn’t, Marshall argues Omaha Beach was, at the unit level, a complete failure, and that it was the actions of 47 key individuals who made the situation their own, overcame the obstacles, and paved the way for a successful operation. It gives some better and more accurate details of Aecks experience on the beach.

The article is filled with the stories he told to Ike to convince him of this, each are small anecdotes from the ground level describing the experiences of these 47 individuals on the beach and how their actions impacted the situation. For a few paragraphs he covers Aecks unit by following the story of Lt Col Metcalf. He once again mentions how the boats of HQ Co came in independently far away from the designated landing zones, allowing for heavy German fire to concentrate on each one. As his aid, Aeck came in on Metcalf’s boat, the first of the company. When they hit the beach, 6 men were killed instantly and another 15 were wounded struggling to get off the boat or wading ashore. Out of the rest of the platoon who sprinted up the barren stretch of shore, only Metcalf, Aeck, and 6 others made it to the boulders underneath the cliff face where they faced vertical and unending machine-gun and sniper fire.

With men strewn across the beach dead or dying, Aeck with two other privates, Clarence Huffman and J D Wallace, began to run across the sands to bring the wounded to safety for treatment. With MGs tracing their steps, the three men were able to bring most of the wounded under the boulders or the nearest cover where they would perform emergency medical aid. As if this wasn’t enough, around noon a US Destroyer began firing upon their position in attempts to knock out the fortifications above. Two shells landed right above Aeck, burying four of the wounded under piles of rock, sand, and dirt. Despite working under fire for nearly an hour, Aeck and the others managed to dig the men out of the rubble, saving their lives once again. The fire continued for the entire day despite attempts to signal the destroyer, which refused to stop until the beachmaster managed to make his way to a working SFC radio and contact the ship.

The article goes on to tell the stories of many other GIs in the 16th and 116th regiments and how their individual courage defined the landings rather than the fighting of entire regiments or divisions. The anecdotes are often gruesome but very inspiring. These men surely went through the closest to hell on earth and it only brings me more respect for Aeck and his compatriots.

I have attached some photos and a link to my scans of the magazine. I am still awaiting Aecks file from NARA but as they have closed to the disease, it may be awhile longer.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rAaXwj2AAjgvDwAr7

 

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Amazing write up Alex! The magazine article is fantastic. A fantastic uniform for a fantastic collection!

Parks


In Memory Of

ARM2 Frank Bednarz USN 1919-1943 WW2 KIA

EMC. Monroe Blevins USN 1919-2009 WW2

TSgt. William Mohn USMC 1913-1977 WW2

SSGT. Robert Duvall USA 1944-2019 VIETNAM

 

 

 

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Hi Alex,

I’ve just found your articles on Stanley Vincent Aeck, you will be delighted to hear that I can add more detail to your story. When Stan, as he was known to my family, arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland in early 1942, he was provided with meals by my grandmother. He became very friendly with my grandfather, grandmother, mother and uncle, who is still alive and celebrated his 90th birthday last week. My mother was only around sixteen at the time but Stan fell in love with her, respectfully so bearing in mind her tender age. After Stan was transferred to England later in 1942, they continued to write to each other throughout the war and my mother retained the letters. Stan mentioned in one of the letters that he was sending a photo of himself and apologised about the quality but it had got a bit wet when he jumped off the boat on D-Day. To help you make further enquiries with US Army records, his service number was 37036817 and he also served in the HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, I believe 34th Division, prior to his transfer to the 29th Division. I am a military historian, having visited most of the famous World War 1 & 2 battlefields, including Normandy on several occasions, sometimes guiding US citizens. In another of his letters, written in pencil on American Red Cross writing paper with ‘Somewhere in France’, he describes spending most of his time being spent living in foxholes and hedgerows, presumably this was whilst fighting in the bocage. In the same letter he states, “I received your most welcome letter while hiding in a fox hole under heavy fire from our underrated German enemy over here in France”. He continued, “all I can say is I’m scared to death most of the time, combat is a terrible thing and I can’t describe it. We have lost most of our old friends but keep going with God’s help”. He added on the back of the last page of the letter, “answer soon I might not be alive long”. I had always wondered if Stan had landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and only discovered your articles yesterday. I will keep the letters and V Mails safe and hopefully visit you in the future when this vicious virus is finally defeated!

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Wow, this is a good read about the heroes of D Day with great research by all of you, thanks for posting it. 


-Kyle-

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Lt. Colonel John Alfred Metcalfe died from his wounds on 15th July 1944, aged 30 years, he received his wounds on 29th June 1944 and died in Cambridge, England. He was buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Plot E, Row 6, Grave 104, I have visited this beautiful cemetery many times in the past but will endeavour to visit there again on 15th July to commemorate the 76th anniversary of his passing.

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Bump because this guy was a little busy 76 years ago, today.


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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