On a gray, blustery morning 70 years ago, Gerald "Dee" Webb sat behind the wheel of his idling 2½-ton truck, steeling himself for the longest drive of his life.
The distance was mere yards, about as far as a baseball can be tossed.
But Webb's destination was Omaha Beach on D-Day, where German defenders had just decimated the first wave of American troops landing in France — the launch of the Normandy invasion during World War II to liberate Europe.
Perched on the heaving deck of a landing craft in the English Channel, Webb saw corpses in the water and heard the boom of artillery and shrieks of the wounded and dying.
World War II veteran Jack Wayman, 92.
World War II veteran Jack Wayman, 92, shows some of his military decorations at his home in Boulder on Wednesday. The medals are, from left, the Purple Heart, French Legion of Honor, another Purple Heart and the Air Medal. Wayman landed in Normandy and fought 313 days across Europe. "I was just a young kid," he said. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
"There was nothing for me to do but go, and I wound up to my neck in water, and suddenly I was underwater because I had hit a bomb crater," Webb recalled at his home in Ovid, a town of 330 people tucked in Colorado's far northeastern corner.
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