3.5 1st Lt. McKennan 101st Airborne Division

The Screaming Eagles Dick Wolch and Howard Hoye were not the only paratroopers that had landed in the wrong place that night. The majority of the men of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions would be scattered over a large area. Although many were dropped several miles from their original drop zone, they gathered as good as possible and attacked the first objective they could find. Some were very unlucky when they were dropped. 1st Lieutenant McKennan was such a man. The C-47 he was in had caught fire due to the German anti aircraft fire on the coast. McKennan was one of the first men to leave the aircraft and that saved him from the flames. Several of the paratroopers further in the back of the aircraft were taken with it when it went down. McKennan's luck ran at from the moment he touched the ground. He landed in the middle of the command post of a German battalion. A German colonel who clearly appeared to be on panic came running towards McKennan. He yelled "Is this the invasion, is this the invasion?" McKennan of course denied this and was then march of into enprisonement.

3.6 Gerry Paulk 501 PIR 101st Airborne Division 2nd Bat Co. D.

Late in the afternoon of June 5 we were taken to the airfield, where we were assigned to an aircraft. We had been in a guarded barb wire encampment outside of the airfield for two weeks then. We had not been allowed outside the barb wire the whole time, because of security measures. There were between fourteen and twenty soldiers in every aircraft. General Eisenhower had walked through the aircraft's when we were installed, before take off. I was thrilled to have that great General wish me good luck. He spoke with as many troopers as possible.

We took off at dusk. There were so many aircraft, it was incredible. The aircraft of three airborne divisions were circling Great Britain in stacks, before we were all assembled. As we were dropping in France, there were still aircraft in England that were taking off. It was dark and as we approached the French peninsula the German ack ack became ferocious. The planes broke their formations trying to dodge the ack ack. My plane banked sharply and I was thrown to the back of the plane. When it was my turn to jump, the plane banked again an I slit out the door and felt the jerk of the suspension line as it pulled my chute out of it's backpack.

When I landed I discovered to my surprise that I had landed in a canal in a swamp. With a rifle, ammo and a heavy radio strapped to my leg, it was quite a struggle to reach solid ground. The incident in the plane had caused me to be a couple minutes behind the last jumper, so when I landed there were no friendly forces to be seen. I had some contact with the enemy before I was able to contact a small friendly force at dawn. The group I was in consisted of men from various units. We had more contact with the enemy and were able to do some damage at the end of the first day. Three days later we were able to reach our own lines, where we could get assembled back in our original groups.

Read about his memories of the Holland drop here...

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