My name is Sarifino R. Visco. I joined the Marines in 1935.I joined the Army in 1942. I have always have been a rifleman, scout and grenadier. My background qualified me for officers candidate school. Instead, I volunteered to join the first army to train for the greatest invasion in History: Plan for D-Day Omaha Beach.
A secret plan was to land anti-aircraft artillery on D-Day, supported by infantry riflemen. I was one of those rifleman and we did land on D-Day with a 457th AAA. In 1943-44, we had our maneuvers in England, Scotland and Wales. Although the strength of the decisions for the date of the landing were made by General Eisenhower, God had already planned my destiny for combat duty from Omaha Beach to the Battle of the Bulge.
Seven months of sheer hell on earth, back to D-Day, after all the training, the secrecy and the planning, the weather was another factor. On June 1, 1944 we all were in full combat gear. All were issued two brown bags for vomiting purposes, as the water was pretty rough.
On June 2, 1944 at 2:00 a.m., we started down the loadingdocks where we were all loaded on navy crafts and boats andsailed toward Normandy. Although predictions of bad weather, it was up to the general to decide. Still on the water, the majority of us were seasick.
The night of June 5, rumors that the landing date was sent by radio accidentally to the Normandy coast. The general decided let's go. Early morning 2 a.m. we all loaded into crafts to attack the Normandy coast. As dawn broke and looking out over the horizon, you could see thousands of crafts with barrage balloons attached by heavy cables to prevent the German Air Force to be tangled in these cables. Thank God the German Air Force were not in the area.
Then, without any warning, our battleships thundered with the big guns and in distance showed clouds of big smoke. D-Day was here, June 6. From that moment on it was a massive battle. Wave after wave of troops, explosions and the twilight zone of bodies all around in the water, the air, the explosions of mines on the beach. By the time we got to land it was difficult to move. The beach was lettered with thousands of dead and wounded. And if I recall, it seemed like the landing failed.
The big German guns continued to fire, plus their machine guns. I was numb that day, the dead were stacked like logs. There was no problem to replace a rifle or ammunition. The wounded and dead had no use for their supplies.
The night of D-Day on June 6, we all regrouped on the hill and that night all we heard was one lonely German plane droningover the beach. If the pilot had an idea of where we were hecould have changed the course of the war. Next day, June 7, it was a matter of cooperating as many more crafts and supplies landed.
From then on it was hedgerow fighting down to St. Lo and Metz and the battle of the Bulge. Although General Eisenhower said everyone that landed on D-Day was a hero, my conception of a hero is that all the men we left buried in the cemeteries were heroes. We that come back were lucky to be able to come back and pay tribute to those men who sacrificed their lives and the families who gave them up so we could live.
With this hind site of history, many people view the D-Day invasion as routine. The fact of the matter, the invasion wasanything but routine. It took years of planning, ingenuity, andthe determination of the foot soldiers that brought victory. God was also on our side as there are no atheists in a foxhole.
I was only one grain of sand, because nearly three million allied soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines were prepared for the D-Day assault. The air fields were jammed with fighters, bombers, and support aircraft. At sea, thousands of ships, all sizes divide variously across the channel.
The book on D-Day by Cornelius explains a more detailed story of the bloody D-Day land of Omaha Beach. Thank you for allowing me to give my version of D-Day, Omaha Beach and my combat experience although other battles were bloody and sad along with the great battle of the Bulge which was my last battle.
D-Day Omaha Beach is what graduated me from a lad to a man. Let us hope and pray that kind of war will never be repeated.