Let me first acknowledge that 10,000 brave men lost their lives on this date in 1944 assaulting the Normandy Coast by sea and air. I grew up playing Army and wanting to be the kind of man who was brave and strong enough to take part in a great and worthy enterprise like freeing Europe from Nazi domination.
Today is the first day of Army Annual Training for my unit. At morning formation our first sergeant reminded us of this 70th anniversary of D-Day.
History is one of the huge gaps between me and the young soldiers I serve with today. I grew up reading books about World War II. I also saw movies, but it was the books that gave me the specifics that I still have in my mind. The dates, the numbers of men, the generals, the weapons, the weather, the time of year, the vehicles, the terrain, the buildings, the food--I was a sponge for the specifics of the war in Europe.
Since I learned about war from books and not from video games, I was aware of logistics. I knew that the real issue deciding many battles was which army could get their troops to the weak point in the enemy line, or to reinforce the weak point in their own line. When I was in an armor unit, war games were mostly moving our tanks and support vehicles from wherever they happened to be to where they were needed.
Soldiers stuffed into troops ships, landing craft, transport planes, gliders, jeeps, trucks, armored cars, and anything else with wings, keels and wheels determine the outcome of battles.
D-Day reminds me of the great tradition I share with everyone who served then and now. And it reminds me of how much the reality of war is logisitics, moving soldiers, ammo, fuel and food to the fight.
May God Bless all those who are still with us who fought on this day 70 years ago.