D-Day June 6th, 1944

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.

ArtieJackCotnerDDay

Artie “Jack” Cotner, England, one week prior to D-Day Invasion of Normandy

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.

Cotner Australia 1942

Canberra, Australia 1944

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.

DeeFeaterB26BomberWW2

Dad’s plane, the Dee-feater, over Great Britain 1944

DeeFeater Crew 1944.jpg

“Dee-feater” crew, RAF Rivenhall, England, July 20th, 1944. My dad, kneeling, center. Colonel McCloud, standing center with helmet. 

 

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

Isigny-sur-Mer - DDay Festival © Ville Isigny

Photo attribution: Isigny-sur Mer D-Day Festival @ Ville Isigny

May the world never forget their great sacrifice.

14 thoughts on “D-Day June 6th, 1944

    • 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!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. 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.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s