Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ignored: the Navy at Normandy Invasion!

From :

Navy Normandy Monument Project Underway
Captain Gregory Streeter, USN (Ret.)
December 27, 2005

Sixty-one years following the largest naval operation in world history, the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the only service not recognized by any monument or memorial at Normandy is the United States Navy.

Hundreds of ships and thousands of men were involved in transporting allied forces from England to Normandy in the largest armada ever assembled, in constructing and operating artificial harbors and in supplying the forces once they were ashore.

Walking the beaches of Normandy today and observing the many plaques and monuments there will give little clue that the U.S. Navy ever was there.

The Naval Order of the United States, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, associations of Merchant Marine and Sea Service veterans in the United States discovered this oversight during a presentation made to a chapter of the Naval Order in 2003 by Mr. Ray Pfeiffer, who conducts tours of WWII battlefields in Europe.

Mr. Pfeiffer related that he and his wife conduct frequent tours of Normandy and they try to emphasize the Navy’s role since it tends to otherwise get minor, if any, recognition in the ongoing remembrances of D-Day. He also mentioned in his presentation that the necessity for doing so was magnified by the fact that the Navy is the only service with no Monument at Normandy.

This lack of recognition is enormous when considering that the naval component of the operation comprised 1,213 allied warships, the preponderance of which was American. Their main task was to provide shore bombardment firepower for the troops going ashore, to guard the transports, and to conduct minesweeping and antisubmarine patrols on the flanks of the invasion corridor.

Allied forces, again primarily American, also provided 4,126 amphibious craft, including a variety of specialized landing craft, such as LSTs, LCIs, and LCTs.

More than 3,500 of these landing craft were actually used during the Normandy invasion and would provide the crucial troop-carrying capacity to land the thousands of men, vehicles, and artillery along the 50-mile wide target area.
The final full-scale monument will be placed at a location on Utah Beach, which already has been designated by the French authorities.

The Monument was designed at his own expense by sculptor Stephen Spears of Fair Hope, Alabama. It will be composed of three realistic figures, each representative of an element of the operation, planning and execution, implementation, and aftermath.The planning and execution figure will be exemplified by the figure of a Navy Captain in a “take charge” attitude. Around his feet will be various representative objects relating to the planning aspects of the invasion, charts, codebooks, and plans.

The sailor figure will represent the action of implementation. The superb training and execution of their duties in the invasion is represented by the loading of one of the thousands of shells fired before and during the assault to both prepare for the landings and later direct support fire.
The third figure represents the immense strain on the Navy Combat Demolition Units (NCDU), which had to both precede the invasion by removing mines and other explosive devices and then follow during and after to further insure the safety of the beachhead.

The concrete pentagonal base will be rimmed with a continuous bronze plaque that wraps around the upper portion of the five sides and will list all of the Navy vessels that participated in the Normandy invasion. Plans are also under consideration to design bas-relief scenes of various aspects of the operation such as amphibious craft on the beaches, shore bombardment, etc., to be mounted on the faces of the base.

The total project is estimated to cost $400,000. The target date for unveiling the monument is the sixty-third anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2007. The Naval Order is seeking donations across the board from individuals, Associations and Corporations. The Monument will be entirely privately funded with no government involvement. Tax-deductible donations should be made out to “NOUS Foundation” (Normandy on the memo line) and mailed to Capt. R.E. Piotrowski, USNR (Ret.), 2432 Fontana Drive, Glenview, IL 60025-4815.

For further information on the project, contact Capt. Greg Streeter, USN (Ret), Chair of the Naval Order’s Navy Normandy Monument Committee, 780 Queens Harbor Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32224-7468. E-mail:

Retired Navy Captain Gregory Streeter graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958. His first duty station was USS Glennon DD 840, which was the second Glennon; the first Glennon was sunk by a mine at Normandy. During his 28-year Naval career, Captain Streeter’s commands were USS Barry DD 933 and USS Wm R. Rush DD 714. His Squadron commands included DesRon 24 and DesRon 12. He is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif., and the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it is about time..good luck...........