Sergeant Harvey S. Olson

4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadro, Troop A
Utah Beach


After manoeuvring in the States, we went to Europe and we were stationed in Sherwood Forest near Chitchester in England but manoeuvred all over. We practiced landing. They asked me to volunteer for hazardous mission and asked if I was a good swimmer. I said yes and a buddy, Thomas C. Killeran, went, too. We spent a lot of our time on Navy boats swimming in and landing on mock up enemy beaches.
When we got ready to land in Normandy in June 1944, we were aboard the Bayfield flag ship for General Collins at Utah Beach. The first day was cancelled on account of the weather.6 June, at 04:30, two hours before H-Hour, the Reconnaissance, just me and Tom, went aboard a scout craft. We went in about 500 yards off the beach that we could barely see on account of the waves.
We landed on Iles Saint Marcouf and gave flashing signals to the troops that were coming in. Tom and I were the first to land on Normandy. They hit the beach and I handed John Onken his rifle. He went past me and I heard a land mine go off and a couple of guys yell. I looked back. Onken stepped right on it and I saw him blown sideways. It was early in the morning and dark, but I saw him by the light of the explosion.