|A "Worm's-Eye" View of Omaha Beach|
|DDay veteran Gale Garman landed on Omaha Beach in the second wave. One of the "29ers" depicted in "Saving Private Ryan", he was officially in the Anti-tank Platoon, Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Divison but says, "who I was with on D-Day, I haven't the slightest idea. A first wave LCVP picked us up out of the drink and dumped us on the beach. I had to have been with either E, F, or G Company of the 2nd BN for the first 40 days".
|Gale was already married and the father of a baby boy when he was drafted in December 1942. He "didn't look forward to military life", but felt the patriotism of his Ohio education motivated him to "do my best while in the infantry. " His recollections of Omaha Beach reflect numerous paradoxes, with his mind asking "how did I get here?" while his physical energies kicked into overdrive.
During a 29ers visit to the Vierville beach landing site in 1999, Gale was asked what he remembered. "Sand", he replied, " I had a worm's-eye view of the beach. Nothing else looks familiar". His unit moved on to the St. Lo breakout, where he became a runner between the forward position and Company HQ, reporting the number of KIA's and MIA's. Then it was on to Brest to clear out the Submarine Pens.
Instead of heading back to England as rumored after several months of action, the 29ers traveled on box cars to the Liege/Aachen area where "I remember the GIs confiscating all the Leica cameras they could find in that vicinity". At this point they finally received the 57 MM Anti-tank guns, bazookas, and were joined up with other Anti-Tankers.
The 29ers crossed the Rhine and met up with the Russians at Koslar on the bank of the Elbe River. After Christmas, Gale's unit assumed occupation duties at Nordholtz Germany, on the North Sea. Like many enlisted veterans, Gale said "as far as what I know about my whereabouts, all the landscape looked the same to me."
Following his discharge in September 1945, Gale returned to Dayton Ohio and worked at General Motors for 45 years. He and his wife Barbara raised a family of five children, several of whom have accompanied their father on 29th Infantry visits to Normandy three times since 1994. Now widowed, Gale remains active in the 29th Infantry Division Association.