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“The secret of pre-fabricated ports was the secret of 'miracle' supply.”

   Raymond B. Dierkes
Image of Raymond B. Dierkes
Raymond Dierkes [detail]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: 97th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees); 108th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees)
Service Location: Roseneath, Scotland; Tilbury, Plymouth and Nettley, England; Normandy, France; Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands)
Rank: Shipfitter Second Class
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One of the most important—and least known—aspects of the Normandy Invasion was the advance construction of giant artificial harbors through which men and materiel could be landed. The Germans never suspected that the Allies would be able to pull off a massive invasion by using the one existing port of Cherbourg, but thanks to men like Ray Dierkes and his unit of Navy Seabees, D-Day was only the beginning of a massive movement of troops and equipment that would spell defeat for the Nazis. In a handwritten note on one of his newspaper clippings, Dierkes proudly notes that he personally drove his unit to an April 1944 meeting in London with Winston Churchill to discuss final plans for the invasion.

  Photos
»Photo Album (104 photos)
 Memoirs
»Unit history of the 108th Naval Amphibious Battalion
 Official Documents
»View List (3 items)
 Other Materials
»Article: 108 Seabees Briefed For D-Day Role, clipping from "The Bulldozer" 10/27/44
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»Voices of War
 Official Documents (3 items)
Letter of Commendation [6/1/44] Japanese Surrender announcement Liberation of Normandie "Diplome"
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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