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“I doubt that I slept at all the night of the Normandy invasion.” (Video interview, 18:41, third video)

   Shields Wilson
Image of Shields Wilson
Shields Wilson
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: Amphibian Corps
Service Location: United States; England; Normandy, France
Rank: Lieutenant
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A self-described “old tough country boy,” Navy Lieutenant Shields Wilson weathered a number of tough situations early on in the Amphibious Corps: he nearly drowned during a training incident, and his ship survived a torpedo attack en route to England. As an officer aboard an LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel), his role on D-Day was to “take troops to the beaches as fast as possible and return and get some more.” Here, he comments on the impact of his combat experiences on his faith, the spectacular resistance that American troops met during the invasion, and the sheer deprivation faced by the English during the war.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (12 clips)
»Complete Interview  
Download: video (1) | video (2) | video (3) (92 min.)
»Transcript
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»D-Day 70th Anniversary
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (12 items)
Almost drowning during training; coming to terms with his own mortality. (04:40) Torpedo attack while en route to England; understanding that if ship was sunk, most sailors would die. (05:45) Observing the British people while stationed in England. (02:08)
Observing build up to D-Day; receiving orders; listening to Axis Sally. (02:42) (NaN:NaN) Observing build up to D-Day; receiving orders; listening to Axis Sally. (02:20)
Departing for Normandy; poor weather conditions. (01:22) Going in at Juneau Beach; under British control; dodging mines (04:55) Expecting to hear a command to abandon the beaches; witnessing casualties aboard hospital ship. (03:36)
Impact of combat experiences on his faith and thoughts on God (04:31) Witnessing the deprivation that the British civilians endured; hearing a child remember once eating an orange (02:57) Thoughts on how his time in the service affected his life (01:24)
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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