Biography of John "Jack" Coleman (1925-1998)
1st Inf Div, USA
Jack Coleman, my father, was his parents' only child, the president of his senior class and a track star. He was anxious to enlist in the Army upon graduation to go fight the war overseas. He said that when their troop ship left NYC, the German planes fired upon their ship all the way to Scotland, where they landed and took a train to England for more training. They kept training for some mysterious mission, knowing not what, but that it was something very important.
One night about 10 pm the call came to pack gear and get ready to move out. They quickly got ready, and rode in the hold of a ship until the first rays of dawn. The ship stopped, the doors opened and everyone was ordered into the water, which was chest high. Holding riflles high, they jumped into the water, bullets wizzing all around them. They put their heads down, advanced and kept firing. Everytime my father looked left or right, people were falling all around him, so he stopped looking around. There were many people he never saw again after that day. The water ran red with blood as the Germans fired upon them from the bluffs above. Someone was there to make a pot of coffee for the troops when they got to the top of the bluffs. As he was holding a cup, a bullet pierced it, splashing the soldier next to him. That night he dug a foxhole and slept in it.
As they advanced through to Belgium for the Battle of the Bulge, snipers were everywhere in the trees. They almost never took their helmets off, as one never knew when or where a bullet would come from. My father never took a bullet throughout the war. He figured that his time hadn't come yet, used to say it was because he was too mean. One couldn't hesitate to shoot upon meeting the enemy. My father returned to NJ shellshocked and 80% disabled with nerves. He didn't want to talk about the war, but nightmares made him scream in his sleep. He married his high school sweetheart, my mother, on his 21st birthday.
He didn't want to attend the 50th anniversary reunion in Normandy, saying, "I was there for the first showing. What do I want to go back for the re-run for?"
I have a picture of the 1st division taken on Christmas, 1944 and will sent copies upon request. Maybe somebody will recognize some of the faces.
----- Lstein7414@aol.com (Email Inactive)
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