Private Jack Port
4th Infantry Division - 12th Infantry Regiment - E Company
My parents were from Estonia (Russia) and my father came over when he was ten years old. After stay in Los Angeles he settled in a small town near San Diego, California. As kids most of them had a bb gun or 22 rifle. I use to cry to own one but my father would not permit us to shoot a gun or use one. He told us we should not ever kill anything. The war came along and at the age of 20 was drafted into army. In 12 short weeks I was converted from a little boy to a combat soldier.
Shipped to England and we were in tents near Minehead, England. Took additinal training. I was in the 2nd Battalion, 4th Division. I was a rifleman… the lowest you could get. Most all of us were ages 18 to 23 years of age.
Prior the D-Day we were issued extra ammo plus 4 had grenades (which I was scared of). Boarded a LCI (Landing Craft Infantry). I was so scared as everyone was. Landed on June 6th at Utah Beach which was not as bad as Omaha Beach.
I landed as a private…no stripes but went to a First Sergeant three stripes above and three stripes below…not because I was brave but it was due to the process of elimination.
Our objective was Cherbourg as the Army needed a harbor. We set out to take Cherbourg but had rough battles at Sainte Mere Eglise…Montebourg …Carentan…etc. We took Cherbourg after fierce fighting on June 25.
After a terrific fight sat Mortain we headed for open country. The breakthough to Paris. Open country with very little resistance. We did about 20 to 25 miles per day. Sometimes riding trucks…sometimes on the outside of tanks…which I did not like as we could not hear incoming artillery…we were strafed many times by German planes…and we moved on to a little town named Nozay on the out skirts of Paris. We were all primed to go in but received orders not to go because De Gaulle wanted to be the first to go in and he was taking his troops in. Laurent…a spectacle I shall never forget. August 25… The liberation of the city of Paris…The thousands of people that greeted us as one can see by vedeos. Our objective was the Turkish Embassy located near…as I recall… Vincennes Parks…We only spent three days there before jumping off to Saint Quentin north of Paris.
Copyright 2000 - | Laurent LEFEBVRE - D-Day Historian