AMU Military Video

A Veteran’s Story- Return to The Beaches of Normandy

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and forever changed the world. Hear from World War II veteran Robert Allen of the 743rd Tank Battalion as he makes an emotional return with Viking Cruises® to this fateful stretch of French coastline. Then just 19 years old, Mr. Allen served in a battalion that worked on amphibious tanks. One of five tank battalions that participated in the Normandy Invasion, the 743rd was selected to be one of three tank assault battalions that would land with the first wave on D-Day. “They went in the first wave with some of the infantry, and our tanks all sank,” he remembers. “We lost almost 500 men in that first charge.” Mr. Allen visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach. There, he found the graves of some of the “tank boys.” “Visiting the cemetery, when I started walking and looked out, it got to me quick. I know what they must have suffered.” Returning to the site where so many sacrificed so much was important to the veteran. “You should do this,” he says. “The whole thing is a real emotional experience . . . but a good one.”

Wes O'Donnell

Wes O’Donnell is an Army and Air Force veteran and writer covering military and tech topics. As a sought-after professional speaker, Wes has presented at U.S. Air Force Academy, Fortune 500 companies, and TEDx, covering trending topics from data visualization to leadership and veterans’ advocacy. As a filmmaker, he directed the award-winning short film, “Memorial Day.”

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