This year marks the 75th anniversary of the famous invasion of Normandy, France when allied forces launched a momentous attack against the Nazi German troops occupying France.
The American allied forces, now often referred to as “America’s greatest generation”, served their country selflessly, with honor and distinction. My father, Artie C. “Jack” Cotner, was one of those.
He enlisted the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th 1941 and served in both the Pacific and European campaigns as a U.S. Army Air Corps gunner and radio man, first on a B-17 Flying Fortress in the Pacific, then aboard a B-26 Marauder bomber in Europe.
Based in Australia for the Pacific campaign with the U.S. 19th Bomb Group, he fought with honor in the Coral Sea Battle, saw vicious combat over New Guinea, and survived the ferocious battle of Guadalcanal.
After two years of combat in the Pacific, he was transferred to Europe. Based in Great Britain with the 397th Bomb Group, he flew more than 66 missions over Europe, the first of which was on D-Day June 6th, 1944. His B-26 Marauder the “Dee-feater” was seventeen minutes out ahead of the invasion forces bombing key targets along the French coast. With its prominent invasion-striped wings, this famous bomber can be seen in several D-Day newsreels of the time making its way inland high above the invading Allied naval armada at Normandy.
In my book “Storytellin’ True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas” I write more about my father’s, mine, my brother’s, and nephew’s military service in a chapter titled “Veterans.” In it, I also explain the origin of his plane’s name and the reason behind its unusual spelling.
For more about the 75th anniversary of D-Day and Normandy follow this link http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/calendar-of-events/anniversary-of-d-day-847-2.html
May the world never forget their great sacrifice.
Bless Them All, Jack. <3 —- Suzanne
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
Jack tells of his father’s service, especially on D-Day.
Thank you for the re-blog!
You’re more than welcome, Jack. —- Suzanne
It is odd,
to be a descendant
of a hero.
Love to all the heroes,
and to all,
who are not.
Love to all of us.
Thank you for that, Cindy. My dad nor any of his crew ever considered themselves heroes. They did what they thought was the right thing to do and after it was over, came home and rarely, if ever, spoke of the war. Thank you for posting!
This is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.
You are welcome, exlibrisveritas. Thank you for posting.
An honorable military family, Jack. I bet GP Cox follows you (Pacific Paratroopers). This is just what he writes about.
Thank you, Jacqui. I will have to go check out GP Cox.
Thanks for posting. Very timely.
Only in real life — certainly not in fiction — could you have a Colonel McCloud in the RAF.
Thanks Mike. Had to laugh when I read your comment. Agree. I met the Colonel at their Air Corps Group reunion. Wonderful man. Had fun visiting with him and watching the interaction between the remaining members of the B-26 crew, my dad included. Also got to meet the Colonel’s wonderful wife, Dee, for whom their plane was named. They had some wonderful stories to tell.
What great memories to have, Jack, lovely post. What a brilliant name for the plane.
Thank you, Jean. They were a great team.