Harold McMurran, 94, of New Market, Alabama, served with the 546th Ord, as a FA, Instrument Fire Control Repairman, mostly infantry, on June 6, 1944, on Utah Beach. He was tasked with landing troops, carrying prisoners, ship communication officers. Surviving veterans of Iwo Jima reunite for WWII battle’s 74th anniversary ... Only 216 Japanese were captured alive. “It was very moving to be on the exact spot where he had been, and to think about how hard they really had it,” Mr. Griesser said. He also fought in Korea. Millions of documents were burned; millions more were left soaking wet, and soon began to molder in the muggy Missouri heat. Stan Friday, 96, of Pennsborg, Pennsylvania, was F-5, 3rd Army, 80th division. The archives once held a file for nearly every veteran who served in either world war. “Sometimes they start to cry on the phone about how much they loved their dad, and how he had horrible nightmares, but would never talk about it,” he said. And by now, most no longer have the chance: Fewer than 3 percent of the 16 million American veterans of the war are still alive, and all are in their 90s or beyond. I'll smell diesel oil (and) right away I'll think of D-Day. Using that information, Mr. Griesser and his family traveled to France in May to retrace his father’s steps, and he plans to make a documentary about the trip for his family to pass down. The youngest veterans are in their early 90’s, while the oldest are over 100 years old. 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. Somebody had to do it. Of the 4,414 Allied troops who died on D-Day, 2,501 were Americans. He was a helmsman and gunner. NEW ORLEANS — All his life, Joseph Griesser hungered to hear the story of his father’s Army service in World War II. That makes file requests on Army veterans something of a dice roll. We did it.". Other World War II veterans who were traveling with him to Normandy this week shared similar realities with ABC News. ABC News' "World News Tonight With David Muir" recently met with several World War II veterans across the U.S. and traveled with them as they made their journey -- some of them for the very first time -- back to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of that day. From the canons. He led a charge up the hill, jumping into enemy trenches and killing 10 German soldiers at close range, records showed. “Fully aware of the hopelessness of the situation, knowing that if the company remained in that position they would be annihilated in a very short time, he would have been justified in withdrawing,” read a singed report in the file, typed by a sergeant shortly after the battle. Vincent Unger, 96, of Orlando, Florida, was among the first ones in on D-Day. Navy and Marine Corps records were unharmed, but an estimated 80 percent of all Army records from World War II were ruined. According to the D-Day Center, the invasion combined the forces of 156,115 U.S., British and Canadian troops; 6,939 ships and landing vessels; and 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders that delivered airborne troops. all these years, Trump says he's fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Trump's White House largely silent as he refuses to concede, Ga. senators call on top election official to resign; he says: 'Not going to happen', Biden and Harris launch transition COVID-19 advisory board. Though the unit was down to just one-quarter strength, the lieutenant urged the men on to rout the enemy from a nearby village. Researchers can use them to recreate the individual stories that many troops never told. He also served in Northern Africa. I would see other guys die within feet of me. “He never talked about it; I just knew he was injured in the war,” said Mr. Griesser, who lives in Stone Harbor, N.J. “We went to see the movie ‘The Longest Day’ together, but that was pretty much the extent of our conversation about the war. photo source: gerontology.wikia.com Gertrude Noone is the second oldest female World War II veteran ever. Bleeding down his chest and barely able to speak, Lieutenant Robinson refused first aid and continued for hours to call in artillery strikes. But Mr. Olmsted said he has often pored over pages half-eaten by flames and rumpled by water damage and still been able to make out the vital details of a soldier’s life. “But there was so much I didn’t know — things I wished I asked before Mother passed away, but I hesitated because it made her so sad.”. Simply having a researcher pull and scan a service member’s file from the National Archives costs about $100. After D-Day, he and another person in his unit got separated from their group. "Everybody knew what we, we were doing. But that has not kept their children and grandchildren from wanting to know their stories, especially as the 75th anniversaries of the D-Day invasion and the other triumphs of the war’s final year have neared. ... And it just, of course, was a shock, obviously. The youngest of these heroes are almost all in their mid- to late 90s at this point. Onofrio Zicari, 96, of Las Vegas, Nevada, fought with the 5th Amphibious Brigade, 5th Wave on D-Day. Friday, who grew up in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, was given a Bronze Star. What is the difference between maize and corn? U.S. forces sent 23,250 to Utah Beach, 34,250 to Omaha Beach and 15,500 airborne troops. Veterans are still overrepresented among America's homeless population (about 8 percent). "Seeing all of these boys that was killed, and just layin' there on the beach," he said. He received good conduct medal, American Theater Medal, Victory Medal and European Theater Medal -- along with 35 stars. He fought during the Battle of the Bulge.