Angelos Tom Chatas - Navy Frogman - UDT6
Chat is a very sympathetic man. He lives 2 miles from where I grew up.
He is credited as being the very first Allied soldier to step foot on Utah Beach June 6, 1944. They frog men were sent in in LCIs (not swimming in as scuba divers as one might think). Their job was to clear all of the obsticales before the landing craft arrived. They arrived about 20 minutes before the first wave. They cleared a 50 yard swath to allow the boats an entry point. His unit suffered 52% casualties on the first day. In the Souther France invasion of August 15, 1944 they actually did swim in to clear the obsticles. He was also used in Tokyo bay to ensure that the Japs did not mine the harbor before we arrive to accept the surrender.
He had just returned from the hospital and was kind enough to allow me to visit him and ask questions. He is wearing his medals, one of which was aworded to him by the French government. The French even named a street after him in the village closest to the beach. Imagine the bravery required to be the lead element of the Normandy invasion. He said his main concern was not to let his frineds down with whom he was fighting. He said that the Germans were everywhere: dead, captured and fighting. It never ceases to amaze me how modest these brave men are. They always say that they were just doing their job. What a day at the office.
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