34th PRS: 1Lt. Raymond E. Lanterman

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D-DAY: The best laid plans of mice and men...

by Raymond E. Lanterman
1st Lieutenant, US Army
146th Engineer Battalion (Combat)
Written 20-May, 1984
1Lt. Raymond E. Lanterman was the younger brother of 34th PRS Supply Officer Capt. Charles H. Lanterman. Although Raymond, a combat engineer, was not a member of the 34th PRS or the Army Air Corps for that matter -- there is an eternal connection between his story and that of the 34th PRS.

On 19-May, 1944 34th PRS pilot Lt. Garland York flew their specially modified F-5A Lightning "My-Little D-Icer" up his assigned stretch of beach shooting a strip of film from St. Vaast De La Hounge to Bancs Du Grande. Flying at 35 feet and at full throttle, his cameras set on runaway, Lt. York photographed what was to become Omaha Beach...the bloodiest stretch of sand that would forever change the future of our world. It would be these photographs which would find their way into the 146th Combat Engineer Battalion and 1st Lieutenant Raymond E. Lanterman's hands. Carried ashore by Lanterman, these photos served as a reference of what lay before him.

According to the Special Engineer Task Force Plan of 22-May/44, the primary mission of the Special Engineer Task Force was to prepare 16 50-yard gaps through all of the beach obstacles within the tidal range of Omaha Beach. The 146th was charged with creating six of these gaps on Easy Red alone. Their secondary mission: to remove all the beach obstacles found on Omaha Beach.

The following is the personal story of the leader of Gap Team 9, 1Lt. Raymond E. Lanterman. His personal reflections of that day...the day known to those who were there as a living hell called D-Day. For his action, Ray was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart. While his wounds did not seriously impair his career as a commerical artist, he was reminded from time to time throughout the remainder of his life, that he had been hit on the beach. Ray passed from our midst January 23, 1994 and rests in honor among his fellow countrymen in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punch Bowl) -- Honolulu, Hawaii.

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