Providing a Personal Perspective of World War II History and the 1940s American Home Front.
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Sunday, September 15, 2013
Cadets Visit the Memorial
VMI cadets learning about the importance of D-Day.
Good afternoon! Sorry that I have been absent this last week but we have been very busy at the National D-Day Memorial preparing for a few big events. On September 14 and 15 we hosted the cadets from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and the Virginia Military Institute, respectively. It was an incredible sight as 330 V. Tech cadets and 500 VMI cadets moved around the Memorial learning about the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice made by our servicemen and women on D-Day. Special thanks goes out to all the volunteers who participated in this event. I would also like to thank Jennifer and Nicole for the photographs of cadets used above. For more photographs, please visit our Facebook page!
V. Tech cadets listening to a WWII veteran.
Each of these schools are represented with plaques at the Memorial, and servicemen from each school and of all rank were responsible for the success of D-Day.
General Leonard Gerow
One well-known VMI graduate involved in the Normandy invasion was General Leonard T. Gerow. Gerow graduated from VMI in 1911 as an honors graduate. He received his commission in the regular army as a second lieutenant of infantry. In 1942, Gerow assumed command of the 29th Infantry Division. In October, his division deployed to England as part of the buildup of the US forces. In July 1943 he assumed command of V Corps, then the highest US field command in England. Major Gerow wanted to prove that his troops, largely made up of National Guard outfits, could be made just as tough and battle-ready as any others in the US Army. He was very aware of how some of his fellow generals belittle the National Guard troops under his command. He tended to work his men twice as hard. In large part, due to his tough training regime, the 29th had trained longer and harder than any other American division. Gerow commanded V Corps during the Normandy landings, the breakout across Paris, and the penetration of the Siegfried line. The V Corps suffered over 2,400 dead, wounded and missing.