Soldiers recall long day on D-Day

³As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down I became a visitor to hell,² said Pvt.

Charles Neighbor, a soldier who landed on Omaha Beach June 6, 1944, as quoted by the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.

Neighbor is one of four veterans of the landing featured in the D-Day Memorial.

Russell Jemison, commander of the Golden Valley American Legion Post, remembers D-Day through the memories of his deceased paratrooper uncle.

³Uncle Robert Torgerson was a good paratrooper and a good man,² Jemison said.

³He did not talk much about the war but did tell us about the people in the French villages that he helped liberate.²

He would talk to nephew Russ about the people and the villages and describe the townspeople.

³The French people were pretty happy with us,² he told Russ.

According to information from the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, most of the paratroopers in the air assault missed their beach targets and landed as much as 35 miles off the targets.

Some were machine-gunned before they reached the ground.

Allied bombers were unable to see through the heavy clouds to get the three airborne divisions landed on target.

Jemison remembers wearing his uncle Robert¹s backpack and playing paratrooper as a child.

³He let me have the pack he jumped with,² Jemison said.

³ I wore it to grade school.²

The invasion landed allied troops on five beaches, coming across the English Channel from Britain.

The National D-Day Project reports 4,649 men were killed by German fire that one day on Omaha Beach.

The first landing craft had hit Utah Beach at 6:31 a.m.

at low tide.

On Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, Canadian and British forces met lighter defenses and came in over easier terrain.

Within a day the airborne and seaborne forces join in those areas and pushed deeper into France.

Jemison says his uncle was a good paratrooper, just a soldier without any technical training beyond his paratrooper duties.

He would have been 80 this year.

Uncle Robert died six or seven years ago in a San Francisco veterans hospital and is remembered fondly by his veteran nephew, now an American Legion commander.

Robert was the brother of Jemison¹s mother, Vivian Jemison, who now lives in Golden Valley.

The Golden Valley post will not hold any special services on this anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day.

Neither will the American Legion post in Kingman or the local VFW posts.

Just 11 months after the June invasion, Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.