John Trippon was a combat engineer in Operation Overlord in the second landing wave of troops that landed on Omaha Beach at 8:30 on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
A combat engineer and a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. First Army Technical Corps, he and 550 men were sent ashore after the first wave defeated by German soldiers. In the first 90 minutes, over half of the men in the unit were killed.
To get the troops secured on the beach, Trippon was ordered to throw his body across the barbed wire fences so his fellow soldiers could run across his back to get off the beach inland, leaving numerous scars across his abdomen. He kept the events of that day a secret, which he finally shared 70 years later.
On the second day of the invasion, Trippon and the remaining troops in his unit captured the Nazi field headquarters located in the Chateau Vierville just a quarter-mile from the beach— a pivotal turning point in the war. Sadly, only 125 of soldiers survived the assault.
On June 6, the Trippon family will be heading to Normandy as guest of the present owners of the Chateau Vierville to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day to honor the memory and sacrifices of those who died during the allied invasion of Normandy.
The grounds of the castle is being utilized to stage a very large encampment and a reenactment of the D-Day invasion, with men in vintage U.S. Army uniforms and with over 100 original US Army jeeps, tanks and equipment.
John Trippon’s son, Jim, joins us on Morning Dose to share his father’s experience.