My father survived the invasion of Omaha Beach, and proceeded to fight through central Europe in the 76th Infantry Division.
His sargeant was killed in action and my father was instantly promoted to that rank. He led, at age 19, his group of men into battle.
The 76th later relieved some of the decimated divisions at the Battle of the Bulge. My father sustained frostbite to both feet during that cold winter. He survived two wounds. One from shrapnel from a mortar round for which he was taken from the front lines temporarily until he healed and then he returned, and another would was suffered from a failed sniper attack which left him with a small flesh wound.
My father particiated in the liberation the prisoners of the Dachau Concentration Camp after its surrender. He described what he saw in these words: "I never knew that human beings could do such things to each other." Other than that he would not discuss to his children, the horrors of what he saw.
He and his Leutenant, Mark Annin found a local merchant who had bought the clothing of the prisoners, and forced him to give it to the soldiers, who them distributed it to the remaining prisoners. My father told me that the prisoners could not eat even K Rations, as they were so emaciated, so he and his fellow soldiers made weak soups that they could tolerate and transported them from the camp. Those who were still physically able were given a weapon which the guards had left behind when they fled the camp.
My father then participated in the occupation period and finally returned home to the United States where he trained new recruits at Fort Bragg, NC.
He was honorably discharged and received the Presidential Unit Citation and two Purple Hearts.