June 2 - D-day veteran says they ''were afraid'' but ''well trained'' for the June 6, 1944 invasion at Normandy which eventually won back control of France from German forces. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
On June 6th 1944 the world's largest seaborne invasion was launched against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany on the French coast at Normandy. About 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel that day. William "Bill" Prindible recalls that day. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILLIAM "BILL" PRINDIBLE SAYING: "We were all 18, 19, 20 years old and we spent nearly two years getting ready for this. It was a very important part of our lives." His fellow airman Julian "Bud" Rice says they never saw themselves as heroes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIAN "BUD" RICE SAYING: "I might add that Bill and I don't like to be referred to as heroes. We were two of the lucky guys who was there and we managed to survive. It was about 114 of our group that didn't survive, didn't get back like we did. And we think about them as the heroes. And all of the other Americans that were lost that day." The engine in Rice's plane was hit by enemy fire but he was able to fly it back to base in England. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIAN "BUD" RICE SAYING: "And there were some historians, writers who said that we were not trained and we were afraid. Well, he was half right. We were afraid, probably every mother's son that went over there that night was afraid. But we were well trained." More than 10,000 allied forces were killed that day. The D-Day assault led an offensive that eventually won back control of France from German forces. The assault was a decisive stage in the liberation of Europe in World War Two.