94 Year Old Veteran Recounts D-Day

– My name is Frank De Vita. I’m currently 94 years old. I’m a fourth degree Knight. On D-Day I had just turned 19, so 70 years I never talked about it. My wife died, and she never
knew what I went through. I was in the Coast Guard, and I served 27 months. U.S.S. Samuel Chase. At four o’clock in the morning, we started lowering our boats. We had 21 boats in the water, and we headed towards the beach. It took us almost two hours. We got within maybe two
or three hundred yards from the beach, and the German side opened up with 88s and their machine guns. Now my job was to drop the ramp, but I froze for a few seconds because I didn’t want to die. I knew those machine gun bullets would be coming into my boat. And the machine guns were
hitting like a typewriter. I dropped the ramp, and the machine guns came into my boat and killed probably 13 or 14 guys. Three guys got off my boat and headed towards the beach. And when they got to the beach, they were wiped out. And I got a lot of dead
and wounded on the boat, and I’m responsible for
these kids in the boat. So then we had to get
the hell out of there. And we started heading towards my ship. I said, “Here I am on the ship.” And I’m thinking to myself, I got my eyes, I got
my arms, I got my legs, and I’m still alive. Do I go back? Do I go back? Into the belly of the beast. I said to myself, if I don’t go back, somebody’s gonna have to take my place. And if they’re killed, I
couldn’t live with that for the rest of my life. I made 15 ships to the beach all together. So most of the kids on my
watch, 18, 19, 20 years old. They were too young to drink. They were too young to vote. But they weren’t too young to die. At the end of the day, we had 2,000 dead on the beach. The first wave, we had 95% casualties. We lost six boats in the first wave. It was machine gun boats all around me. Like a swarm of angry bees. Why one of them didn’t hit
me, killed the guy next to me. Killed the guy next to me. Killed the guy in front of me. God was watching over me. People think I’m a hero. I’m not a hero. I’m a survivor. I didn’t know what to do. I’m a religious person. I believe in God. I pray every morning,
and I pray every night. You leave war. War never leaves you. I decided I was going to join the Knights. It’s the best decision I ever made. We help people. We feed the poor. We go to hospitals and talk to people. It’s a giving organization. I get a lot out of the Knights, but they give more than I get. You get close to the other Knights, and they become your brothers. In the service they were my brothers. In the Knights, they’re my brothers. (dramatic classical music)

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