Willie Whitman, Squadleader 505th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division

Twenty four year old Sergeant Willis (Willie) L. Whitman, from Rogers City Michichan had been in the army for three years when he jumped into Normandy. He was a squadleader in B Company of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Whitman recalls:
"I was captured seven miles wets of St. Mere Eglise on 6 June. I had been hurt when I landed, and was picked up by the Germans the next afternoon. I was taken to a CP, where they took my dogtags and equipment, and asked me my name, rank, and number. I stayed 6 or 7 days at various places in that area.

We were marched inland towards Valognes. There were 7 of us able to walk. The wounded were evacuated by ambulance. I got away when some P-47's strafed the column, about 13 June. I rolled into a ditch and got away in the dark.

Several French farmers and women helped me during the next day. They gave me food an directed me. I do not know their names.

About 24 hours later I ran into a tank unit which sent me back to the 307th Evacutation Hospital. I was sent to England, then was the Holland drop, and at St. Vith, where I was wounded.

The treatment during my stay with the Germans was pretty rough. The German captain in charge was a SS trooper. We were interrogated at length at a villa (probably the regimental CP) by two officers who spoke perfect English. This was several days after my capture."

Source: Escape and Evasion report 2829. Dated 22 January 1945.


82nd US Airborne Division


505th Regimental Combat Team

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