The slaughter of the guys from Bedford to Omaha Beach

The slaughter of the guys from Bedford to Omaha Beach
The small town of Bedford VA to pay a heavy price June 6, 1944.

Nineteen out of 34 of her children fell on Omaha Beach, in front of Vierville-sur-Mer, before seeing a single German soldier or could fire a shot.
They were all parties of the Company A - 1 Battalion 116th Infantry Regiment - 29th Infantry Division.

In the early 40s, they had integrated the National Guard, in order to have adventures, like thousands of young Americans to their ages, alternating civilian life and workouts. This amused them a lot of playing soldiers on Sunday, recreating the surrounding hills battles of their grandfathers southerners back.

They won only 1 dollar a day, and it was enough to get out more each of poverty. Then an act of Congress had all pushed, when the National Guard had joined the active service and that only small dollar had turned into ticket to war. A morning in November 1941, the 34 Bedfordiens leave the city, days where school children had no classes and they all came to see the "Boys" from accompanied by a brass band. The people also stood there, overwhelmed with emotion, everyone knew at least someone in the young men with a father, a husband, a brother or a son in the troop.

Their first mènnent the road in South Carolina, then at Camp Blanding in Florida.

The young soldiers did not know where we send. When the disaster of Pearl Harbor occurs, many believe they will go to the front in the Pacific.

While their departure from the United States is close, young women make the trip from Bedford to Camp Blanding in to a last embrace their lovers or their husbands.

Then they embark for Europe, for many this is a first, they never traveled out of the country and it is with a twinge when Queen Mary sailed from New York, they look at the Statue of Liberty disappear How far will still have the chance to see her again?.

Once in England the atmosphere is no longer the holiday colonnie, but rather to military discipline. Intensive training on the South East coast of England Slapton Sand, are demanding and intransigent officers.

Integrated in the 29th Infantry Division, they are quick to know that they are going to land on a French beach name "Omaha", alongside the 1st Division, the Big Red One .div_1 "big red one".

big red one

What they ignore is that this beach will be remembered as the ominous name of "Bloody Omaha" baptized with their blood and that of the "boys" of the 1st DI.

Bedfordiens among these young people, were the Roy and Ray Stevens brothers, twins born in 1920.C'est insépérables together they were engaged in the National Guard. The June 6, 1944, for the first time in their lives they were not together the two brothers were on two different barges to land on Omaha Beach, and shortly before leaving for the beach Roy had told his brother that they would end up in Vierville> But Ray will never succeed.

During the ride the barge where was Roy Stevens was sunk by a mine, he was rescued and repatriated to Omaha Angleterre.De return on June 11, he crossed the temporary cemetery where the dead were buried on 6 June and found the grave his brother with his dog tag hanging on a wooden crosses. Roy Stevens continued the battle with the rank of sergeant and was seriously wounded in a hand Saint-Lô victim of a landmine.

When he returned in the familly farm, Roy trailed him feel guilty, why was he alive while his brother was dead? when he arrived with his parents his father in tears said "At least one of them returned to you." Roy Stevens often thought he should have died the same day as his twin brother.

stevens roy 2004

Roy on the grave of his brother

Another family of Bedford farmers, known as a double bereavement, the Hoback.

Raymond joined the National Guard at the age of 18, following the example of his 24-year-old brother Bedford. The day before the landing Raymond, although ill, had refused to be repatriated so as not to be separated from his older brother.

Bedford Hoback was engaged to a young American girl, while Raymond was an English girl.

The Hoback brothers died together in the first meters on the beach. Bedford was shot in the face with 88mm shrapnel, and Raymond, who fell on the edge of the beach, was swept away by the tide. Only his Bible was found, and another soldier from his company picked it up and sent it back to Hoback's parents.

At the announcement of D-Day, Bedford families anxiously awaited news of relatives of the 116th RI. The Hobacks received a first telegram from the Secretary of War on July 16 announcing the death of Bedford and the next day indicating that there was no hope of finding Raymond.

Since July 1944, Lucille the younger sister keeps in her possession the Raymond Bible returned by Corporal Crayton and the telegrams announcing the death of his two brothers.

Throughout the city, families were mourning a loved one.

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Leslie C. ABBOTT Jr. Wallace R. CARTER John D. CLIFTON Frank P. DRAPER Jr. Capt. Taylor N. FELLERS
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 Nick N. GILLASPIE  Bedford T. HOBACK  Raymond S. HOBACK Clifton G. LEE  Earl L. PARKER
powers jack rosazza weldon john reynolds john schenk ray stevens
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John L. WILKES Gordon H. WHITE Jr. Elmere P. WRIGHT Grant C. YOPP  

Monument in honor of the National Guard

In front of Vierville sur Mer on Omaha Beach

monument national guard
monument national guard 1
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