Navy vet from Oregon recalls his D-Day role

Human Interest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been 75 years, but veterans who played a role in the D-Day invasion remember those events clearly.

Two of the Oregonians who were part of D-Day, Ben Asquith and Abe Laurenzo, were celebrated at the Oregon Historical Society and shared their stories from that day.

Mr. Laurenzo, now 93, enlisted in the Navy when he was 18. 

“I was a senior in high school when the Japanese dropped the bombs on Pearl Harbor. I was quite upset by it all, and I vowed I was going to go in.” 

When they got their orders, he said all he knew was that they were headed for France.

“I don’t know that I was uneasy about it, I was just doing my duty,” he said.

He was a Radioman First Class on a landing craft for infantry that delivered 200 troops in the first wave on Omaha Beach. 

“We didn’t know really what we were getting into. We knew it was going to be a difficult landing, but there were a lot of people doing this thing,” Mr. Laurenzo told KOIN 6 News. “All the while we were trying to land there were shells dropping around the boat and we were just fortunate that we didn’t get hit.” 

A copy of The Oregonian from June 6, 1944, D-Day, as seen at the Oregon Historical Society, June 6, 2019 (KOIN)

Thursday, he attended the event with wis wife of 71 years and said he is honored to share his story and recognize his fellow serviceman, part of The Greatest Generation. 

Sacrifice, he said, is part of life and you have to be willing to sacrifice for something along the way. He was proud to serve and to make sacrifices for his country.

And he also feels very fortunate to still be here recognizing this day 75 years later, honoring his fellow servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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