78 years ago, on 6 June 1944 was a momentous day in the history of the World and the USA. The pinnacle of the term “TEAM”, where many come together as a TEAM to achieve a common goal, was demonstrated on that Day. From the planning, training, preparation, and execution on a scale not equaled, there are many examples from the front lines that serve as lessons for today many have not realized, especially in these challenging times.
Movies such as “Saving Private Ryan” provide an “armchair” highlight of what it was like storming the beaches that day, navigating landing craft in choppy waters under heavy fire, aircraft bombing runs, dropping by parachute behind enemy lines, landing a one-way trip glider deep into enemy territory, etc. It was much different for WWII Veterans who experienced it first-hand, and they tell stories not found in history books. The best history is “living history”; hearing it from someone who was there – find them, listen to them, learn from them.
One such D-Day account from a Veteran at a local Veteran’s home is the German Army use of wooden bullets. He explained as they advanced from the beachhead, how they captured from overrun German positions, many belts of ammunition with wooden bullets. He described how the German Army was short of metal and their objective in using wooden bullets was to wound vs kill advancing soldiers. The Germans realized if they wound a troop, others would come to the aid of their “battle buddy” and be taken out of the direct fight as well as become another target.
One of the great Leaders of the time, General Douglas McArthur once stated in reference to athletics as a part of West Point TEAM training, “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days will bear the fruits of victory.”
LotUSA understands the value of TEAM and the members continue that TEAMwork long after we hang up our athletic gear and/or military uniforms. The mission of service to our Veterans and Wounded Warriors recognizes the significant contribution and sacrifice of these individuals to the TEAM across all conflicts. LotUSA would like to extend a challenge to everyone starting this D-Day in 2022.
D-Day Challenge: Find a WWII Veteran and ask them about their service. As the “foxholes of that aging generation get further apart”, find a family member who would talk about the service of their WWII Veteran. Also, reach out to Veterans of other conflicts, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent ones. It is amazing at what one can learn about history as well as life in general.
Rick Makowski, Army Veteran, LotUSA team member