‘Sitting before him were 62 of the “boys,” now-middle aged men who had climbed the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, using ropes, grappling hooks and ladders to reach a suspected German gun emplacement 100 feet up.
They were boys no more, and even on the that stormy morning in 1944, they were more a group of rugged characters than youths.
One, William “L-Rod” Petty, 63, had lost his teeth playing football and suffered two broken legs in training before he joined the Army Ranger outfit that fought there. It took him three tries to reach the top. He is thought to have killed 30 German soldiers that day.
Leonard G. “Bud” Lomell, 64, had been a railroad brakeman before the war. Shot in the side, he barely made it up the cliff but later destroyed two big German guns with thermite grenades. He would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Frank South, 59, was a Ranger medic, and had treated many wounded men on the beach before reaching the heights with the others. He would earn two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.
Antonio “Tom” Ruggiero, 58, had been a professional tap dancer before the war. He was plunged into the water when a shell hit his landing craft on D-Day and later became a sniper in the Rangers.’
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 6, 2019