England and Normandy
The 16th Infantry regiment in Liverpool, England, in October 1943 and from there entrained on 16 October for Dorchester in southwestern England to carry out seven months of grueling training in preparation for the Allied invasion of Europe. On 1 June 1944, the men of the 16th Infantry departed their D-Camps in southwestern England and embarked on amphibious assault ships at the port of Weymouth. Late on the afternoon of 5 June 1944, the troop-laden ships slipped out of Weymouth harbor and headed for the beaches of Normandy.
The long awaited assault on “Fortress Europe” began in the early hours of 6 June 1944 as the 16th Infantry Regiment moved toward OmahaBeach. As the lead elements, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, approached the beach, it became readily apparent that many of the enemy’s strong points had not been eliminated by the pre-invasion bombardment. Many landing craft, and their occupants, were hit as they plowed through the heavy seas toward shore. As landing craft dropped their ramps, men were killed and wounded as they attempted to get out of the boats. Others were hit as they struggled through the surf or tried to run across the sand weighted down with water-logged equipment.
As more units arrived, they found the now disorganized lead troops pinned down and congested. Still, here and there men attempted to move forward. In a few places, small organized bodies of troops made efforts to get through the enemy defenses. Soon troops began making their way up the bluffs along while other gaps were blown through the wire and mines. By noon of that bloody day, the 16th Infantry had broken through and established a foothold that allowed follow-on units to move through. A few weeks later, at an awards ceremony on 2 July 1944, Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Gerow came to praise the troops of the regiment for their heroic efforts.