Recognizing the Black Soldiers Who Served on D-Day

Recognizing the Black Soldiers Who Served on D-Day

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Today is the 75th anniversary of D Day, during which American stormed the beaches at Normandy during WWII. There is a myth that no black soldiers served during this battle, this is false. 

Joann Woodson at 90 years old, wants the world to know her late husband Waverly Woodson, was one of the few black soldiers that did serve on Omaha Beach on DDay. 

Woodson was a member of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, an all black Army unit that specialized in placing barrage balloons in battle areas during WWII. Their goal was to distract and destroy enemy aircrafts and to provide cover for allied soldiers on the ground. At 21 years old, her husband was one of the medics who tended to the wounded while under enemy fire. After 30 hrs, Woodson collapsed from exhaustion. He earned a purple heart and bronze star for his service.

He was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor in the ’40s, but no black soldiers received such high recognition at the time. Then, records of his service, along with those of millions of other soldiers, were destroyed in a fire in 1973.

Today, all that remains is a single memo regarding his extraordinary feats.

“Here is a Negro hero from Philadelphia who has been recommended for a suitable award. … This is a big enough award so that the President can give it personally, as he has in the case of some white boys,” stated the 1944 U.S. Department of War memo to the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House.

The memo was discovered by Linda Hervieux, author of “Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War.”

“People sometimes don’t want to believe that it actually happened, but it did,” added Joann Woodson.

Thank you to all of those who serve our country!

Written by Clarke Jones

Source: KYW News

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