Tag Archive: D-Day

June 6, 2020 marks the 76th Anniversary of D-Day

D-Day 76th Anniversary

Code named Operation Overlord, the invasion of a 50 mile stretch of Normandy beaches was conducted by almost 160,000 courageous American, British, and Canadian warriors. 

Past Commander Fred Apgar recently reminded us via a Facebook post of the participation of one of our own Post 8870 comrades in the DDay action 76 years ago.

D-Day 76th Anniversary

Fred Diedrich was assigned to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Red Devil’s), part of the 82nd Airborne Division, who jumped behind the lines in Normandy the night before the landings to capture the town of Sainte- Mere Eglise, secure crossings at the Merderet River laFiere and Chef-du-Pont, and to establish a defensive line along the river crossings. 

We have told Fred’s story in detail in recent prior editions of this newsletter, which you can find on the Post website, but it seemed important to mention his role again on this anniversary month of those events, as we approach Diedrich’s 97th birthday. 

D-Day 76th Anniversary
The Two Freds at a Post meeting some years past.

Post Charter Draped for Warren Eddy

At our November meeting, the Post charter was draped to honor the memory of Warren Eddy. Warren, who was a long standing member of Post #8870, served in the Army during WW II. Warren was raised in northern Minnesota and joined the Washington State National Guard unit upon moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1940. Soon after the unit was activated, Warren was selected to attend Officer Candidate School. After receiving his commission in 1942, he was assigned to a weapons battalion after which he boarded a ship headed for England. His battalion boarded LST’s on D-Day, and for the next three days, Warren and his men remained on the landing craft. Finally, on the morning of D-Day +4, they dry landed on Normandy Beach and headed inland.

While his unit’s mission was air defense, they were used primarily to provide ground support to the infantry. His battalion was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division. Shortly after arriving in France, Warren was ordered to reconnoiter a road to locate the enemy and assess its strength when the three soldiers were ambushed. For his action in returning his men to safety after being ambushed, Warren received a Bronze Star with a “V” device for Valor. Warren participated in combat operations as the Allied Forces chased the Germans back to Germany.

Upon his return home, Warren joined the Army Reserves and retired at the rank of Major. He and his wife, Sandra, were married for over 50 years, and they had two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Warren, who died after a brief illness, was a Life Member of VFW.

Profile of Comrade Warren Eddy by Fred Apgar

Comrade Warren Eddy

Warren began the war serving with the Coastal Defense National Guard which became a regular army unit following Pearl Harbor. While serving with the Regiment, Warren was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at a base in North Carolina. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in November of 1942. He was assigned to an automatic weapons battalion that was composed of 40 MM Bofers, fast firing anti-aircraft guns, and half-tracks with four .50 caliber machine guns. In addition to the half-tracks, the battalion, which was composed of 800 + men and officers, had numerous trucks and jeeps and was a completely mobile unit. Warren’s battalion boarded ships on the east coast for the two week cruise to England. Once they landed in Liverpool, the battalion was sent to Aintree Racecourse where they lived and trained. Warren’s battalion was attached to the 29th Infantry Division, and once their weapons and vehicles arrived, they trained on the Moors in South Devon, practicing beach landings. On D-Day -1, Warren’s battalion made their way to the docks. His battalion was back loaded onto LST’s; Omaha Beach was their destination. On the morning of June 6, 1944, the armada of all sorts of naval vessels departed the shores of England. The battalion would wait on the LST’s for three days until a road leading from the beach had been cleared. On D-Day + 4, Warren’s automatic weapons battalion dry-landed on the beaches of Normandy, and immediately made their way inland. On the way, his battalion suffered casualties from sniper fire and land mines. When his unit’s Executive Officer was killed, Warren was given a battlefield promotion to First Lieutenant and became second in command of his unit. While their mission was that of air defense, one of the commanding generals on the scene took advantage of the battalion’s fast firing guns to provide ground support for the infantry troops who were engaging the enemy in the infamous hedgerows of Normandy. During the day, Warren’s unit moved from field to field, clearing hedgerows and battling the Germans for control of the inland. At night, they slept in foxholes. On one occasion, Warren was ordered to reconnoiter a road in an effort to assess the enemy’s location and strength. He and two other troops proceeded down a road into a German controlled area when they were subjected to heavy mortar and machine gun fire. They fought their way out of the ambush, safely returned to their unit, and provided information regarding the enemy presence. For his action, Warren was awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” device for Valor. Approximately six weeks after landing in Normandy, the Allied forces were able to seize total control of Normandy and begin its break out. In August of 1944, Warren participated in the liberation of Paris, and the 60 vehicles in his battalion transported U.S. troops through the streets of Paris to the wild cheering of the newly liberated Parisians. Warren’s battalion was ordered to Holland for air defense duty, which was short lived when they were then ordered to support Allied efforts during the Battle of the Bulge. After reaching the Elbe River in Germany, all units were ordered to stop and let the Russians meet them there. While waiting, they were informed about a German POW camp filled with Americans. Control of the camp had been seized by the Russians, and Warren’s unit organized a convoy of 60 vehicles to free the prisoners. With the assistance of an Army Lt. Col. from Headquarters, who had maps of the area, the battalion successfully rescued the prisoners. After the war ended, Warren performed occupation duty for six small villages near Frankfurt. When he returned home, he was discharged from the Army, but remained in the Army Reserve from which he retired as a Major.

He is the Past Commander of American Legion Post #43 in Hollywood, California and a Life Member of VFW Post #8870 in Edmonds.


This article is one in a recurring series of profiles that recognize the courageous contributions made by members of VFW Post #8870.
Fred Apgar is the Past Commander of Post #8870