This oral history essay is on the writer's interview of her father-in-law, Jules "Chic" M. Chicoine, a paratrooper with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division that saw action in France during the Second World War. Focusing on events before and after his first combat jump into enemy territory on June 5, 1944, one day before D-Day, Chic's story of his personal experiences during the war gives a first-hand view of how young ordinary Americans did some brave heroic things out of love for their families and their country.
He signed up and volunteered to be trained as a paratrooper, following the footsteps of his older brother George, who was already in the Army and was fighting with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
In August 1941, Chic registered at Fort Devins, Massachusetts and being newly-married and an expert meat cutter, he was told that he would be given consideration to work as a Staff Sergeant at a meat cutting plant in Chicago, preparing meat for the troops. Chic would not have anything of it.
So the Army sent him to train as a paratrooper at Camp Taccoa, Georgia. Chic, chuckling during the interview, said that it used to be called Camp Tombs because the camp's site used to be a casket factory. ...