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"I never could bring myself to go look if I hit them." (Interview)

   Ellison W. Parfitt
Image of Ellison W. Parfitt
Ellison W. "Bill" Parfitt
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: E Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
Service Location: United States; England; France; Belgium; Luxembourg; Germany; European Theater
Rank: Private First Class
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Affectionately known as Big Foot for his size 15 shoes, Ellison Parfitt was a modest infantryman. "Any stupid S.O.B. can carry a rifle," he notes, "and I'm one of them." But on June 6, 1944, he was wading ashore at Normandy with his commanding officer, General Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. The two men developed a close friendship, cut short when Roosevelt died suddenly of a heart attack a month after D-Day. Parfitt was well aware of his own role in history, recording on a discarded parachute all the places he would visit in Europe, including the newly liberated Paris.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview  
Download: video (1) | video (2) | video (3) | video (4) | video (5) (99 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album (1 photo)
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»D-Day On the Beach
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Landing on D-Day with General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (05:24) How General Roosevelt got his Purple Heart (Clip 1/2). (00:52) How General Roosevelt got his Purple Heart (Clip 2/2). (01:07)
Taking out his anger on a German soldier. (02:28) The cruelty of sending the wounded back to the front. (01:48) His fear of giving orders that would lead to a casualty. (01:06)
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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