World War II Veteran Talks about D-Day

[May 17, 2018]  Occasionally you have to sit down and listen.  That means keeping your questions and thoughts to yourself and keeping your ears open to what is said.  Last night I was honored to hear Pete Fantacone, a U.S. Navy veteran who went in with the initial waves to Omaha Beach, Normandy France on the 6th of June, 1944 … D-Day.

Fantacone was part of the largest seaborne invasion in history on that day.  He tells his story with spunk and a clear voice that comes from the knowledge that he did his duty.  Part of a Coast Guard unit of 12 LCIs (Landing Craft, Infantry), he tells us he couldn’t see the beach and the carnage taking place from his position in LCI-492 but what he does remember is “smoke, smoke all over the place.”

He told me that the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard don’t get much credit for the D-Day landings, but their role was pivotal to the success of the operation.  Much of what he says, he backs up with numbers and specific ship names; like the USS Arkansas and USS Oklahoma which laid down a massive barrage onto the shoreline to help protect the troops.

These seafaring services also transported the troops from the ships directly onto the shore; German 88mm tank fire or mines sank many.  Each LCI made several trips back and forth under murderous fire.  Fantacone tells me he believes that he credits his faith and good training for carrying him through the day.

World War II was a good war because it was a war where you could see the differences.”  What he is saying is that Nazi Germany was out for world conquest and the Allies were there to stop them.

Truly a special occasion for me to hear from this military veteran who was at a key point in one of the most famous battles in the 20th Century.  Fantacone’s bravery is unquestionable.  You can read more about him here (see link).

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

25 thoughts on “World War II Veteran Talks about D-Day

  1. Drew Dill

    Every country has veteran’s organizations that support and defend their vets. I found them most powerful in the US, Australia, England, Russia and Italy. I lived all over the world and have come to the conclusion that those societies that take care of the military veterans are the most trustworthy.

  2. Tracey Brockman

    Thanks for the informative article today on one of the few who survived the landings at Normandy. Yes, Mr. F is correct to note that the Navies didn’t get much credit. Yet, the Coast Guard seems to have gotten no credit at all.

  3. Kenny Foster

    I read the book “The Greatest Generation” and found it riveting. The stories are the types that stick with you for a lifetime. I’m glad to be a person who knew and befriended many WW2 veterans.

  4. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Good article today to start my day. Thank you Gen Satterfield.

  5. Andrew Dooley

    Brig Gen Satterfield, I looked this guy up on the link you provided. Yes, he is a spry old gentleman.

  6. Shawn C. Stolarz

    I don’t know how accurate this is but I’m sure it’s close.
    https://www.reference.com/history/many-world-war-ii-veterans-still-alive-bee995bca1a14809
    In June 2013, there were approximately 1.7 million veterans of World War II alive. Nineteen years earlier, 10.7 million of the 16 million American World War II veterans were still alive. By 2024, an estimated 81,117 veterans may be alive, according to VA statistics. By comparison, the last World War I veteran died in February 2011, nearly 100 years after the conflict.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      All I can say is WOW. Thanks Shawn for the stats.

    2. Watson Bell

      Sad statistics. We are all fortunate to those men and women who were part of WWII and for those in the past and present who perform those duties to defend freedom.

    3. Mark Evans

      Thanks Shawn. Most of the vets I grew up around were from the Korean War. We still hear little about that war.

  7. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Nicely written on an American hero. Let’s all honor those of WWII, from all the Allied nations, that stepped up and did their duty to stop world aggression.

  8. Joey Holmes

    My great uncle was in the war and we all liked him. He was a good man and we appreciated his funny jokes and stories about the war. He always made us happy. Cheers.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      We all have stories like this that make us smile to remember such wonderful people. Thank you Joey for sharing this about your great uncle.

  9. Gil Johnson

    There are many organizations that are dedicated to those who served. It matters not which country they came from or how rich or poor they may be. We honor their sacrifice and their memory for doing something great for the world.

  10. Wilson Cox

    Too few of these men (and yes women) left any more.

  11. Jonathan B.

    I too had a neighbor who was a WWII vet and he was a wonderful man and father. When he passed away a few years ago the entire town turned out for the funeral. That was a sad time but also a time for his family to honor and remember him for being a good person in every sense of the word.

  12. Georgie M.

    Part of the “Greatest Generation” and thank you for connecting us to him in this way. Good to know he is still around educating us on that war.

  13. José Luis Rodriguez

    My uncle fought in the war and was a real hero to our family. Once he returned (after the occupation of Germany) he got a job, got married, went to church, and lived a satisfying life. We all loved him dearly and sadly he passed away last year.

  14. Darryl Sitterly

    I consider myself fortunate to have a neighbor who is also a World War II veteran from the US Army. He still gets around and we speak occasionally about his service in Europe. He, like so many, were young and thought they were invincible. The recent wars have brought back memories of his war.

  15. Lynn Pitts

    I agree with Army Captain that there are so few that remain and yet we can learn so much from them and just enjoy their company.

  16. Army Captain

    A real honor. Thanks for telling us about a WWII veteran. There are so few many left anymore.

    1. Billy Kenningston

      Yes, that is the sad truth. We often don’t realize what we have until it is lost.

    2. Tony B. Custer

      Yes, I understand that in just a few short years, there will be no WWII vets left.

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