D-Day invasion 70 years ago today
Ann Mire is a librarian with the Acadia Parish Library's Crowley branch with a deep appreciation for history. She regularly contributes to The Crowley Post-Signal with a monthly Crowley history article as well as reviews of local plays and performances.
Today, Friday, June 6, is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II — the largest seaborne invasion in history.
While many residents of Acadia Parish served in the European Theatre of Operations during World War II, There appears to be only four who actually participated in the D-Day invasion.
Many others joined in the ongoing invasion of France in the days and weeks following he initial invasion on June 6, 1944.
The four from Acadia Parish participating in the Normandy invasion included:
• Private First Class Cecil W. Morgan (1922-1944) of the 62nd Field Artillery Battalion - Battery B.
A resident of Mermentau, born in Indian Bayou, Pfc. Morgan was killed in action on June 6, 1944, in the first day of the Normandy invasion. His body was returned for burial in Indian Bayou in January 1949.
• Sergeant Benton J. Broussard (1922-1944), of the 82nd Airborne - 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment - Third Battalion.
A resident of Lyons Point, Sgt. Broussard was killed in action on June 11, 1944, in the invasion of France. He participated at Utah Beach area during the D-Day invasion, Temporarily buried at a provisional cemetery, his remains were returned for burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in June 1949.
• Sergeant George E. Weil (1919-1944) of the Second Infantry Division - 38th Infantry Regiment.
A resident of Rayne, Sgt. Weil was originally reported as missing in action before the family was notified that he had been killed in action on July 30, 1944, in France. A Memorial Mass was held for him in September 1944. His body is buried at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
• Lieutenant Colonel Steve A. Chappuis (1913-2008) of the Second Battalion - 502nd Regiment - 101st Airborne Division.
A native of Rayne, Lt. Col. Chappuis eventually reached the rank of Brigadier General. After the D-Day invasion, he also participated in the airborne invasion of Holland. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General George Patton for his role in the defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 through January 1945.
(If I have omitted anyone else, I offer my sincerest apology. I hope to do a future historical article on those who gave their lives during World War II.
— Ann Mire)