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Thread: Ray's Rock

  1. #1
    Senior Member CA-35's Avatar
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    Ray's Rock

    Seventy-five years ago this June 6, some 150,000 men stormed the beaches of northern France, opening the way to the defeat of Nazi Germany. It was an operation so bloody and so iconic that has become known to history simply as “D-Day.” The beaches in Normandy, particularly those in the area of Colleville-sur-Mer, were barricaded with steel traps, mines, barbed wire; gun emplacements and bunkers lined the ridges above them, machine gun nests covered very inch of sand. Today if you walk the beach below Colleville, you’ll see no sign of these things. If you go early enough, you may see riders exercising their horses in the firm sand, or watch a parasail cross above the shallow surf. Later, bathers will spread their towels and kids will splash in the waves.

    There is only one monument on the sand near Colleville-sur-Mer, and from the distance it looks not like a monument at all. It’s a slab of aggregate, concrete, cement, and rock left by the Germans while constructing obstacles, left by the French as the sole reminder at the water of so many tragedies and so much courage.

    There is a plaque on the rock facing Colleville, again the sole plaque at the water’s edge. It commemorates the men on D-Day who tried to save lives, rather than take them – the combat medics of the 16th Infantry’s Second Battalion, led by Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert. Thirty names are inscribed on the bronze plate. Each man was a hero, saving dozens of lives while risking their own under constant fire. Many were in the first wave to hit the beach, and began their work immediately, saving men weighed down by equipment as well as wounds, some drowning in the surprisingly high water. The first hours here were particularly hellish; the obstacles were flooded and generally mined, and artillery and mortar shells that didn’t hit you generally splintered the rocky shelf of beach, turning nature herself into the enemy.

    The only true cover was that large bit of aggregate left by the Germans; the medics dragged countless wounded men to safety behind it as the battle raged. appropriate that the medics command the only memorial at the water’s edge. Not because they were brave – many, many men were brave that day. Rather, because they symbolize hope, not just for the wounded, but for the future itself. Death in battle is not the purpose of war; life after battle is. And these men – not just of the Second Battalion or the First Division, but all medics – were there to help ensure that there was life after battle, that the war was worth fighting for.



    Rays Rock



    Ray Lambert in 2018 at Normandy Beach
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  2. #2
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    My Dad was there. He would have been 98 this 4th of July.
    TODAY is the TOMORROW you spent all day YESTERDAY acting like there was no.

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  3. #3
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    Honestly???? I think I am far too much of a wimp to do what those folks did. Little wonder they're called The Greatest Generation".
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  4. #4
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    They were certainly heroes, but no more so than our brave troops who are serving and giving their lives today, just a different setting.
    TODAY is the TOMORROW you spent all day YESTERDAY acting like there was no.

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  5. #5
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    Absolutely, no intention of minimizing anything our current and past Service Members have done for all of us. This was a different type of warfare than what you typically see/hear about today.
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    '98 D 60
    '81 D 70
    '94 DV 72
    '94 DV 73
    '13 DD6 MCE
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    '07 F 412
    '95 JF 100 NT CRV
    '97 Deco #3
    '99 Finesse
    '13 Orph. Jumbo
    45th/50th/60th Anniv.
    '64 S 50
    '60 T 100 C
    '74 M-75 CS
    '55-X 50
    '65 X 50
    '00 X 170
    '57 X 175
    '70's M 75 CS
    '68 St 301
    '69 St 402
    '98 SF 2
    '65 SF 3
    '81 SF 4
    '67 SF 5
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    '60 X 150

  6. #6
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardp69 View Post
    Absolutely, no intention of minimizing anything our current and past Service Members have done for all of us. This was a different type of warfare than what you typically see/hear about today.


    "Word".
    Nonetheless "heroism" remains a constant:
    Doing what you were trained to do in spite being scared sh----ss.
    Because somebody and more than likely many somebodys are depending on you to do it.
    Colleville-sur-Mer btw was at "Omaha Beach", scene of the highest casualty rates during landings on D-Day.
    Another big difference between "then and now" is how the news of war is delivered to us.
    "Embedded journalists" were held on a much tighter leash back then, but D-Day had an effect on one of the most respected ones, Ernie Pyle ("The Man Who Told America the Truth About D-Day") similar to the effect the Tet Offensive had on Walter Cronkite during the Viet Nam war; they got a little more frank and open about the real horrors of what was going on, Cronkite even going so far as to deliver an on-air editorial urging the US leadership to get out of Viet Nam, a historic moment.

    Compare their integrity to Brian Williams' fabrication of his experiences in Iraq.

    And to be fair on this day, there were broad segments in the German military who were not Nazis but still loyal to their country Germany as opposed to Hitler; many officers who refused to allow those under their command to be drafted by the SS for the mass murders of innocent non-combatants.
    Rommel himself was a famous example and participant in the plot that led to the most famous assassination attempt on Hitler.
    Though tasked with overseeing the completion of the Atlantic Wall, he was hamstrung organizationally and the defenses had not been upgraded to his proposed levels by D-Day.
    From the usual source:
    "Rommel's own experiences at the end of the North African campaign revealed to him that the Germans would not be allowed to preserve their armour from air attack...[246] Rommel believed their only opportunity would be to oppose the landings directly at the beaches, and to counterattack there before the invaders could become well established. Though there had been some defensive positions established and gun emplacements made, the Atlantic Wall was a token defensive line. Rundstedt had confided to Rommel that it was for propaganda purposes only.[247]"
    Although Rommel himself was on a holiday on D-Day itself, believing the weather precluded any chance of the expected landings occurring at that time, things could have turned out very differently had he been allowed to implement his plans completely.
    Ultimately the sheer weight of capability was on the Allies' side but the war could easily have stretched out for another couple of years at least, had we not gone in when we did and been successful.

    Heroes wear many uniforms.
    Last edited by adorshki; 06-06-2019 at 05:11 PM. Reason: syntax improvement
    Al
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    Senior Member Guildedagain's Avatar
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    Never forget.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member CA-35's Avatar
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    Ray Lambert is still alive and well at 98 years old.
    Busted out in SoFlo waiting on a Guild,
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by CA-35 View Post
    Ray Lambert is still alive and well at 98 years old.
    My dad and 7 uncles all enlisted and served during the war. They’re all gone now. All came home, one with “shell shock”. I think all of those who served came back shell shocked to some degree

    I remember as a young boy in the mid 60s being at a family gathering where 5 of the vets were presents. They were joking around about their experiences in the war. I remember my aunt leaning over to me and saying “don’t let them fool you, any one of them would have been happy to put a bullet in Hitlers head”. I always remembered that.

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