The story of Captain Stewart.
June 6. 1944
Captain Stewart tensed as an artillery shell detonated by his Higgins boat and covered him in freezing water. He leaned his head towards Private Semenole, the driver, and said: “ETA to beach?” “Forty seconds!” “Gotcha!” Stewart turned his head around and yelled “Forty seconds!” to the squad in his boat. Twenty seconds passed and he started to yell “Twenty seconds!” But was cut off when he heard a whistle and looked up to see the entire front of his boat disappear in an explosion. He screamed a long “SHIT!” as he was thrown backwards out of the boat with mutilated body parts of dead soldiers behind him.
Stewart was dragged underwater by his heavy B.A.R. and even after he cut the strap loose, he could barely swim. He kicked his legs downwards, and he took a large gulp of air that sounded something like Gwi-uph, once he reached surface of the water. He looked around the water to see that it was already turning barn red as blood poured out of the dismembered limbs. He looked ahead and swam thirty yards to the beach and nearly fell dead of exhaustion. He managed to drag himself into a ditch made by an artillery shell, and that’s when he started to realize how bad this was going. Everywhere he looked he heard screams, gunfire, and explosions. Everywhere he looked he saw a dead body with blood coming out of the unsettling amount of bullet holes on it. As he reached out to take a M1 Garand from a fallen comrade, he caught a glimpse of the sea. Several boats were sinking, dragging screaming soldiers under. One boat ran ashore and about twenty flaming soldiers screaming their lungs out jumped out of the boat, their bodies charred and burnt. But many boats made it to the shore, managing to drop off soldiers while many got shot while they were running down the ramp. He pulled his arm back into cover, checked the rifle for ammo, got up, and screamed “ADVANCE!” as he sprung out of cover and started charging up the beach with soldiers falling behind him.
Stewart threw himself down behind a tank trap, half buried in the sand, and looked up at the German defenses for the first time. He muttered a low Jesus Christ! There were two German bunkers, each with two MG-42s in them. Sandbags and barbed wire were below the bunkers with a machine gun crew in a sandbag circle to the west of the bunker closest to the beach. Below the bunkers was a raised area of land, bordered by barbed wire. If he could get troops to that area, he could get some explosives on a weak section in the wire, and blow through.
He waved his arm in a signal to move to the area of raised land. One-hundred and fifty-two soldiers charged up the beach and dived at the raised land. Sgt. Wells, who just landed on the beach, had already made it up to the “wall”. He handed five grenades to Stewart, who rolled them over the top of the wall and rolled over as a giant explosion blew a hole in the wall. “MOVE UP! THROUGH THE HOLE!” He remembered the bunkers and saw a soldier with a flamethrower run by. He grabbed the soldier. “What the hell?!” “Listen, you stay here until I need you” The soldier was about to make some smart-ass comment when he eyed the Captain’s helmet and said: “Uh..yes’ir!” Sgt. Wells led his squad through the hole, and advanced them slowly up the hill, taking out the machine gun nest in the sandbags. He tossed a grenade up into the bunker, and signaled Stewart. Stewart pushed the soldier with the flamer through the hole, and the soldier got the idea. He turned on the gas flow for his weapon, pulled it up, and pulled the trigger labeled RELEASE. A line of bright flames flew across the sky and landed in the bunker. Several flaming Nazis screamed and jumped out of the bunker in hopes of suicide, so they didn’t burn to death. He did the same to the other bunker, and gave the all-clear. The soldiers that were still on the wall rushed up and started to set up a temporary in one of the cleared-out bunkers. Soon the tanks made it to the beach and rolled up to the top. Sgt. Wells and his squad, which now included the soldier with the flamer, were enjoying some wine because they had the privilege to “celebrate”, as given by Captain Stewart. Sgt. Wells asked the soldier his name. “Cpl. Dante, sir.” Wells shook his hand and they went back to their drinks.