Local Veterans Reflect on D-Day Anniversary - KOAM TV 7

Local Veterans Reflect on D-Day Anniversary


While Normandy commemorates the D-Day invasion with events and services, local veterans who fought overseas also remember the day very clearly. Two Southeast Kansas veterans say D-Day was not only a turning point in World War II, but also a turning point for combat strategy.

70 years ago on June 6 1944, 160,000 U.S. troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of Normandy in France, to fight Nazi Germany forces. The day became referred to as 'D-Day', which is a military term for the day combat is initiated.
For local world war ii veterans Homer Cole and Earl Bangert, they remember the day very clearly.

"You just worry about it. And once you got down, you air phone had to be shut down because they wouldn't let you talk unless it's an emergency. Anything over enemy lines, they figured they could pick up the noise." Cole explains.
"I was lucky. I never got hit. Got scared a couple times though." Bangert says.

The two visit each other, and share war stories frequently. Cole shares his stories as a tail gunner in the U.S. Airforce, and Bangert...a member of the u.s. Navy Destroyer - the U.S.S Monaghan.
One story they remember vividly is the D-Day landings, and how the use of military aircraft created a turning point in World War II.

"Before that aircraft hadn't been really considered as viable weapons." Bangert says.
Cole flew a B-17 aircraft, which was the most famous bomber and combat plane during World War II.  
Cole tells us "People can't realize carries 20, 200 pound bombs. And they take a lot of extra fuel and that heavies the load. But when you have 80 planes, dropping that many bombs, you're bound to hit something."
After years of improvements, today's military aircraft include a sleeker, lighter design, with much more added technology and power....a much bigger change than 70 years ago.
"What we learned from it was the fact that the aircraft became the main thing. We were battleship happy, and the battleships were good for one thing, bombarding." Bangert says.
Looking back...Cole and Bangert say they are proud to be back home in Pittsburg, honoring their fellow veterans together.

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