A Partnership Program in Conjunction with the Conneaut Community Center
If you are a Veteran who requires special needs or would like to be personally recognized at the event,
please contact: Eric Montgomery.
- Mouse over images below -
Sergeant Albert Cimperman
1St. Division. Landed Omaha Beach, 1944
Al (Sarge), attended D-Day Conneaut for the first time in 2011. The picture to the right is of Albert as he joins the Big Red One re-enactors just before they got ready to hit the beach. He was with the 1st Division and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. The event was very emotional and Al was a big hit with these wonderful people.
First Sergeant Brian Adam
U.S. Army - Retired - Attended 2010
My named is First Sergeant Brian Adams from Conneaut. In was at last years event which honored a Family member Joseph Mucci. It was a great event and very Authentic. I had not been back to Conneaut in years. It was quite an awesome display. Being a U.S. Army Retired First Sergeant, I want to compliment the staff and the super job that you do each year.
I know it must be quite an endeavor to put this together.
First Sergeant Brian Adams
Private Joseph E. Dore Jr. of Austintown OH
Rifleman - Company H - 502nd Parachute Infantry - 101st Airborne Purple Heart Recipient - Attended 2009, 2010
A message from the family of Joe Dore: "We can not thank you enough for D Day! It was an experience we will never forget. It touched our hearts to watch Uncle Joe Dore's
reaction to all the attention the men gave him. Even with having a brain syndrome, he remembered every detail of his military service."
Click here for more pictures.
Corporal Merle Swanger T-5 of Mamont PA 1st Infantry Div. 2nd Battalion, 26th Regiment
Attended 2009, 2010
PFC Ferdinand Lowry
In his own words PFC Lowey says: Oct. 10th 1941 I joined the USMC and left for Parris Island S.C. with 5 other recruits arriving late in the evening and had a supper
of chicken etc.
On Dec 7th, while at the rifle range, we found out about Pearl Harbor. A week or so later I was assigned to Z MQ1
and we left for Norfolk, Va. On arrival there we boarded the S.S. Exeter, a cruise ship of the American Export
Lines. We left there and stopped at Guantanamo Cuba then sailed on to Panama. We stayed at Ft. Randolph 'til we
got organized then put our balloons in the area of the Gatun Locks.
In Sept of 1942 we left the Canal Zone for the States.
We settled in at Camp Lejune, N.C. March of '43 as part of the 13th replacement Bn we went to San Diego, California
then left for the South Pacific, stopped at Hawaii, American Samoa then on to British Samoa. We trained for
several months then boarded ship to New Caledonia where we stayed for a while.
We then boarded ship and went to Australia, around Tasmania to New Zealand. Went to camp at Masterson N.Z.
where I was assigned to the the 3rd Defense Bn. 90MM AAA. Next we went to Guadalcanal to make ready for
invasion of Bougainville. After that campaign we went back to Guadalcanal where our outfit was broken up and
the 6th Div. formed. I was assigned to the 15th marines 105 mm field artillery. On Easter Sunday we made the
invasion of Okinawa. When the battle was over my enlistment was up so I was sent to Guam. There I was put
aboard the destroyer escort #11 and sent back to the states.
Went to San Diego where I received my discharge. Several of us hitched hiked home.
Staff Sergeant Dale Martz
401 St Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, based in Den Thorpe England
He proudly served from 1941 to 1945 as an Armament Gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress, flying 35 missions over
Europe some of which over the Normandy coastline in support of D-Day. Staff Sergeant Martz will be attending
D-Day Conneaut for his first time in 2010. Staff Sergeant Martz is pictured front row far right. Click here for more pictures.
Francis (Frank) V. Hilley of
Pittsburgh, PA 65th Division, 261st Regiment, A Co.
Purple Heart Recipient - Attended 2010
Born in Pittsburgh in 1921, Mr. Hilley entered the army in May of 1944. He went through basic training at Camp
Wheeler Georgia and then was assigned to the 261st Regiment of the 65th Division, 1st Battalion, Company A. After
basic he trained at Biloxi MS for about a month then on to the Bronx NY to head to Camp Lucky Strike in Le Havre
France. After arriving in the ETO he served in the Central Europe - Rhineland campaign where he was wounded
by enemy fire. Later he received a Purple Heart for that action. Mr. Hilley also served in the Battle of the
Bulge. During his time in service, he received the following decorations and citations: European African /
Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star, WWII Victory Medal and was honorably
discharged in March of 1946.
Lt. Chuck Marcy of Conneaut, OH
B-17 bomber pilot
Has attend every D-Day Conneaut since 1999
Lt. Marcy began his military career as an instructor pilot then became the pilot of a B-17 bomber. He and his crew flew 27
missions. On April 29th, 1944, during a raid on Berlin, he was forced to abandon the airplane in flight. He
parachuted to German soil wounded and dazed and was quickly captured.Click here for more pictures.
Lt. Marcy began his military career as an instructor pilot. Then, much to his satisfaction, became the pilot of a B-17 bomber.
He and his crew flew 21 missions over enemy held territory hoping to reach the magic number of 25, the then standard set for crews
to be taken off the line, safe and sound. Upon their return from mission 21, a new standard of 30 was set due to the high losses
in planes and men. Six missions later and three shy of that new mark, mission 27 would turn out to be his last behind the controls
of a flying fortress. It was April 29th, 1944, during a raid on Berlin, that the formation was intercepted by fighter planes of the
German Luftwaffe. A round from one of the fighters smashed through the nose of his plane, passed through the control panel, severed
two of Lt. Marcy's fingers and ended up impacting his chest. He was knocked unconscious at an altitude of 26,000 feet in skies filled
with hundreds of B-17's heading to their target. With a rookie co-pilot in the right seat, fear got the best of the fledgling flyer
and the B-17 spiraled down towards the earth. After regaining his senses, Lt. Marcy managed to regain control of the bomber with the
help of Sgt. Robert Schrimsher, a crewman of only 18 years of age which now found himself acting as the co-pilot. Marcy's navigator
and bombardier were badly hurt during the attack as well. After settling the fortress to an altitude of 8000 feet, not a single sign
of the armada of planes on the raid were in sight. Lost and alone, the crew devised a plan to try and make it to the Swedish coast.
During their maneuvering, the plane again was hit with anti-aircraft fire knocking out 2 engines and setting a wing a blaze.
Time, was running out. After assuring that the crew had bailed out, Lt. Marcy hit the silk himself. Landing on German soil wounded
and dazed he was quickly captured. Lt. Marcy was treated for his wounds in a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) hospital. A number of air
crews were also receiving treatment there as well. Lt. Marcy described to me his care in the German hospital. "We were being taken
care of very well by a very intelligent and well to do nurse who did everything she could to help us recover. She referred to her
patients as her boys." As to raise the comfort level of the men, she dismissed the guards taking responsibility of not only treating
the men, but also risking her own life within the ward. As appreciation to the nurse, Lt. Marcy sang to her in German a melody called
None but the Lonely Heart. 3 weeks into his recovery Lt Marcy was transferred to German POW camp; Stalag Luft 3. As the war began to close in upon Germany, he was later liberated exactly one year to the day from his fateful flight by members of Patton's 3rd Army. After the war, Lt.
Marcy became a contractor specializing in the heating and roofing business.
Clarence R. Sexton
A Proud Veteran
of D-Day & the Battle of the Bulge.
Motor Machinist Mate John Mark Gannon of Oil City, PA
U.S. Navy LCT-659 Omaha Beach 06 Jun 1944
Sword - Juno - Gold from 07 Jun-12 Sep 1944
Utah 15 Oct 1944
Private Joseph E. Dore Jr. of Austintown OH
Rifleman Company H 502nd Parachute Infantry
Purple Heart Recipient - Attended 2009
Sgt. John W. Gabersek Jr.
400th Medical Collecting Company, Luzon Philippines
(Click John's name for a detailed account of his contributions and life)
Johnnies last trip to Conneaut in 2008 was highlighted by being a part of the 6th Naval Beach
Battalion Unit which won 1st Place for Best in Show. From inside the 20,000 pound bunker, Johnnie fielded questions regarding his own service in the
Philippines. During the Beach Landing Reenactment it has come to my attention that John was trying to make his way down to the beach level to help
the men portraying the battle action. Most likely his instincts as a combat medic wanted to take charge again. Over the past few years, Johnnie was featured in many of our programs and flyers. His kind heart
and friendly ways will be sorely missed at future events. Click here for more pictures.
Read more about Johnnie at http://www.soldiersandsailors.us/
Frank Becerra of Peoria
3rd Armored Division
At 90 years
old, Frank Becerra drove himself from Peoria Illinois to witness the event. He undoubtedly is one of the older WWII Veterans that have come to
D-Day Conneaut, of D-Day. Mr. Becerra was a member of the 3rd Armored Division better known as the "Spearhead" Division led by Major General Maurice Rose, one of only
two Division Commanders Killed in Action in Europe. Needless to say, Mr. Becerra surely saw a lot of action himself and nearly lost an arm in a mortar
attack. While at the event the sight of a jeep brought tears to his eyes reminding him of his ride on the hood of one after he was severely wounded. Although he told his daughter Sharon that he would not talk to anyone at
the event about the war, after seeing all the khaki clad soldiers, the equipment, and the encampment he couldn't hold back. Sadly, Mr. Becerra
passed into history November 24, 2008... May you rest in peace our friend.
God bless you Frank. Click here for more pictures.
There is much to see and do for all veterans and their families at this free event that honors not just those who fought in Normandy but all of our veterans.
From combat recreations to military encampments, to living history displays, to a full big-band "USO style" dance,
D-Day Conneaut has something for the young and the young at heart. D-Day Conneaut gives our younger generation the chance to learn about D-Day and gives our honored Veterans the opportunity to relive their youth and return to a moment in time so pivotal in world history -
Their Longest Day.
For our Veteran's convenience, family/friends are permitted to drive our VIPs right up to the
VIP arrival welcome tent. Unfortunately
there is no parking in this area so escorts will need to use the ample Veterans
Area Parking. Veterans will be escorted from this location to the Veteran Hospitality
Tent. It is a short distance and transportation from the arrival area to the hospitality tent will be provided.
Please click here to view a
letter from our Veteran Coordinator Eric Montgomery with additional
information and guidelines for those wishing to attend.
Click here to download a
printable registration card that can be printed and mailed in with your
information prior to the event.
Are you a veteran planning to attend alone? We will help you!!! If you are a Veteran attending alone and need help, we are here to help you! Please mention this to one of our staff at the
when you arrive and we will be honored to assist you during your visit. Veteran and handicapped parking is located nearby. For additional questions and assistance, please contact our VIP Veteran Liaison,
Eric Montgomery for further assistance.
Seating and Accessibility Both battle areas are wheelchair accessible. The American Legion
and the New Leaf Church of Conneaut will be sponsoring this year's hospitality tent, (see our site map). Please ask
any of our staff or at the registration desk for assistance if you need help locating anything.
During the Bridge Battle Veterans are encouraged to sit at the East End of the Bridge.
**Please be sure to arrive 20 minutes ahead of time.**
During the Beach Landing,
VIP veteran seating on the bluff is limited.
We are respectfully requesting that veterans limit escorts in this area to 1 in
addition to themselves. Veterans and families can watch from the veterans area as
space permits. We ask veterans who are not mobility impaired to consider
giving priority seating to those veterans who may have more limited
This area is conveniently located at the top of the bluff overlooking the entire battle area. The bluff plateau above the beach awards viewers a clear
view of the Axis positions, the battlefield, the shore line and sea-borne approach of the landing craft. For your convenience, chairs are provided in this area by The Conneaut American Legion.
Seating in this area is strictly limited to veterans and their family escort.
Again for 2013 - Veteran Outreach
Once again this year, great strides are being made to bring as many WWII Veterans to D-Day Conneaut as possible. As individual units close their national reunions, we hope that those still able to travel
will choose to make D-Day Conneaut their reunion central.
We welcome all our former swabbys, dog faces, leathernecks, wingnuts, cunnuckers, Rosie the Riveters, Waacs, Waves, Wasps and all others of the Greatest Generation to reunite in Conneaut as we celebrate,
honor and relive their history. If you are a veteran or the family of a veteran, we urge you to contact,
Eric Montgomery who is heading up this effort.
To see pictures and read more about some of the many veterans that have
visited D-Day Conneaut over the years please click the Visitor Stories bar