"the 506 did not make it..."
Soldier:
Lt. Thomad Kennedy
Date: June 6th, 1944
Location: Normandy, France
Unit: G Company, 506th, 101st Airborne

Let’s start from the beginning, I shared a room in Parliament Peace with Lt. Turner M. Chaubliss. I was his assistant platoon leader, 2nd platoon, G Company, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne. About a week before we left for the marshalling area. Lt. Derwood Cann, platoon leader of the 1st platoon was hospitalised and I was assigned as 1st platoon leader for the upcoming invasion.

I landed on the front edge of the Landing Zone (LZ). My plane was chalk #13 and this was my 13th jump. I was the jumpmaster and had 19 men. Our pilot was Willow G. Smith and the co-pilot was George Fitzpatrick. On return from Normandy Fitzpatrick was promoted and made 1st Pilot. The rest of the crew were all killed in action in a re-supply mission to Bastogne. George Fitzpatrick is still living (as I am writing this in 2004) and I am still in contact with him.

When I landed in Normandy I was in about 12 inches of water, with several tethered animals. I was able to orient myself from briefings and the church steeple in Carentan. I was unable to assemble due to the huge barn fire close to our designated assembly area. I did not hear a bugle or see any blue lights. (Assembly Circles)

I got out of my chute with great difficulty and started to move in the direction of our objectives in Brévands. At first I picked up several men and made them point men. I do not remember the names of these men. We kept picking up men as we moved further. At about 03:00 Am the point man came back and told me he had run into Colonel “Jumpy” Johnson. I asked him how many men he had and he did not know but would find out. When he came back he said: “Just the Colonel and his bodyguards.” We continued to move in the direction of the locks, the 501st objective and the bridges the 3rd battalion objective.

Just before dawn I held up the column that continued to grow as we moved along. I placed myself in the corner of a field and directed the men to continue moving towards me. As they reached me I directed them to form a perimeter defence. Colonel Johnson he approached me and asked if I had sent out a patrol to the locks. I told him I had not and told him I was 506 and was headed to the bridges. He told me the 506 didn’t make it and to move to the locks. I disobeyed that order and passed the word around the perimeter that when they saw us leaving that all 506 men should follow.

As we moved it began to get brighter. We stopped to blow a telephone pole and approach a farm house. The family was glad to see us and told us where the bridges were located. The number of men varied as we moved along. At first light I reached the bridges and was told that Lt. Turner M. Chaubliss had just been killed in action. The toughest part of that move was getting across the > They were too wide to jump and just deep enough in the middle to be over our heads. The worst part was that they were full of cow pee. So with weapons held over out heads we crosses about three of them. I checked in with Joe Doughty who told me he was the senior officer from G Company to make it so far. IN G sector there only about a dozen men. Barling kept entering a deserted tow story house in attempt to spot the enemy in Brévands. He drew fire and was lucky not to be hit. He was not so lucky in Holland.

Forward to 23rd of June 1944
The 101st was deployed across the neck of Cherbourg peninsula in preparation for the break out toward St. Lo. General Taylor gave the order that he wanted one prisoner per day per battalion for intelligence purposes. Live prisoners were needed for interrogation. Joe Doughty was now Company commander. He ordered me to form a 15 men combat patrol to get some German prisoners. I choose Flint Brown as NCO to help pick these men and gave them the briefing. There was a crossroad to our front that was occupied by German soldiers. Plans were made and at duck Sergeant Jean a driver, Sgt. Brown and myself went by jeep (one from regiment) on recon. We went down a dirt trail and decided we were in the wrong place. On returning back along the same trail the jeep hit a landmine. When Sgt. Brown who was in the backseat was blown out backwards. He was stunned for a short period of time and when he came to he saw me with the motor on my head and bleeding profusely. HE told me after the war that he tried to lift the motor from my head but just could not do it on his own. About that time Colonel Sink and several men heard the blast and came to investigate. They were able to lift the motor and get me to an aid station. I came to momentarily and asked Colonel Sink if I was going to live. He said: “Kennedy this is a direct order GET WELL!”

Colonel Sink told Brown to check into the aid station also because he was covered in blood. After several days Brown was awarded the Purple Heart. To this day he says he got the Purple Heart with my blood. I came to the next time in a tent on a cot and throwing up blood. Wanting water etc. I was evacuated by a c-47 plane from a strip on the beach of close to the beach.

I was at the foot bridge early (07:00) on D-Day and was wounded later in the campaign (June 23rd)

The episode with Colonel Johnson is not widely known and is covered in Rendezvous with Destiny. Colonle Johnson refered to me as an unknown Lt.

Lt. Thomas Kennedy.

Personal Photographs


The shoulderpatch of the 101st Airborne.

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