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Stories of Utah Beach

This tour visits the graves of five individuals who landed on Utah Beach on D-Day.

The 4th Infantry Division – the “Ivy Division” – landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944 accompanied by two infantry battalions and an artillery battalion of the 90th Infantry Division – the “Tough ‘Ombres Division”. This tour will visit the graves of five individuals from these units who landed on Utah Beach on D-Day.

Richard Edmund Richtman

Richard Edmund Richtman

359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division

Private, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Wisconsin

Died:

7/26/1944

Grave Location:

Plot C, Row 13, Grave 9

The 359th Infantry Regiment insignia.

Pvt. Richard “Dick” Edmund Richtman, was born on November 26, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minn. His father, James, had served in France in World War I.  At the age of 15, he saved an eight-year-old boy from drowning in Lake Michigan. The family knew nothing about the heroic act until his father read about it in the local newspaper. As his sister pointed out, Richtman did many, many "good deeds" but didn't talk about them. 

Pvt. Richard E. Richtman before the war.

After joining the Army, Richtman was assigned to F Company of the 2ndBattalion, 359thRegiment, 90thU.S. Infantry Division. In the early morning of June 7, 1944, the troop carrier U.S.S. Susan B. Anthony, while shipping men towards Utah Beach, hit a mine and sank within two hours. Miraculously, all passengers aboard the vessel-including the 2,317 men of the 90th, among them Richtman-were found and rescued by other ships. Though the men survived, they had lost all their equipment and weapons at sea. 

During weeks of a tough hedgerow fighting into the month of July, Richtman successively led his unit from Utah Beach through the expansion of the beachhead. On July 26, 1944, Richtman was killed in action near Périers. The 359thRegiment faced the little Sèves River, heavily defended by German soldiers of the Das Reich Division. Forty-five GIs of the 359thRegiment lost their lives in the attack, including Richtman. 

An LCVP carrying members of the 90th Infantry Division approaches Utah Beach on June 7, 1944.

Richtman is one of four 90thDivision GIs memorialized on a monument in Périers, Normandy.

Monument to the 90th Infantry Division portraying Pvt. Richtman, Pfc. Tangborn, Pvt. Speese and Staff Sgt. Micaloni in Periers, France.

Awards: Purple Heart

Richard Edmund Richtman is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot C, Row 13, Grave 9.

Virgil J. Tangborn

Virgil J. Tangborn

Band, 90th Infantry Division

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Minnesota

Died:

7/14/1944

Grave Location:

Plot E, Row 25, Grave 20

Pfc. Virgil J. Tangborn playing bugle for the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division.


Pvt. Virgil John Tangborn was born in Schleswig, Iowa on May 23, 1920 to Swedish and Norwegian immigrants. Tangborn worked on the family farm in Minnesota until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. In his sister’s memoirs, Tangborn is described as serious but also humorous and mischievous. Not one for farm life, Tangborn escaped the farm through his books and music. He played in the Navy band and a dance band prior to the war.

Tangborn and the 90th Infantry Division Band. 1943.
90th Division troops wade ashore at Utah Beach on 7 June 1944.

While training at Camp Berkeley, Texas, Tangborn auditioned for and was selected into the 90thDivision Band for the French horn. Although he survived the landing on Utah Beach on June 8, Tangborn was killed six days later. During a fight for an ammunition dump on the Cherbourg Peninsula, while attempting to save a wounded soldier under heavy artillery fire Tangborn was shot and killed. Tangborn is one of four 90th Division GIs memorialized on a monument in Périers.

"The Four Braves" Monument commemorates the 90th ID and the liberation of Periers, France on July 27, 1944. It depicts Andrew Speese, Richard Richtman, Tullio Micaloni, and Virgil Tangborn. Tangborn, wearing the Red Cross helmet helps the wounded Speese who is kneeling in the middle.

Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart

Virgil J. Tangborn is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot E, Row 25, Grave 20.

Malcolm L. George

Malcolm L. George

8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

Captain, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Georgia

Died:

6/7/1944

Grave Location:

Plot F, Row 2, Grave 44

Spring 1944, Hamton, England. Capt. Malcolm L. George is the third from the left.

Capt. Malcolm L. George was married and had three children before joining the U.S. Army in Georgia. He was assigned to the 8thInfantry Regiment, 4thInfantry Division and became the commander of M-Company. They arrived near Hampton, England on January 26, 1944 where they continued training in preparation for D-Day.

Nazi 88-mm guns pound Utah Beach as American troops push into Normandy, France. c. 6 June 1944

On June 6, 1944, the 8thInfantry Regiment was the first unit to land on Utah Beach. The unit attacked the Turqueville salient on the morning of June 7, with the objective of establishing contact with the 82nd Airborne Division at Sainte-Mère-Église. George and his battalion were facing a powerful enemy with a number of 88mm guns and automatic weapons, holding high ground and impeding the advance of the battalion. George observed that severe casualties were being inflicted by a hidden enemy machine gun that was firing into the rear and flanks of the advancing troops. George immediately organized a group of volunteers and, with complete disregard for his own safety, personally led them in a successful assault. While leading the attack, George lost his life.  He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously.

George along with M Company, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division during training at Camp Gordon, Georgia.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart

Distinguished Service Cross

Malcolm L. George is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot F, Row 2, Grave 44.

Raymond J. Hansen

Raymond J. Hansen

8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division

Chaplain - Captain, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Wisconsin

Died:

6/11/1944

Grave Location:

Plot F, Row 1, Grave 30

The 8th Infantry Regiment insignia.

Capt. Raymond J. Hansen grew up in Augusta, Wis., and spoke both German and Danish.

M4 Sherman "Hurricane", equipped with deep-wading snorkels, loads onto LST for the trip over to Utah Beach.

Hansen trained with the 8thInfantry Regiment, 4thInfantry Division in Georgia but returned to Wisconsin in August 1943 before deployment. In his hometown, he managed to preside over numerous weddings, thriving in his supportive role in the community. Soon after, he was sent to England with his regiment. As a chaplain in the Army, Hansen was often in the line of fire: helping the wounded, retrieving and burying bodies in temporary graves close to the battlefield. He also conducted religious services and gave confession and absolution to fellow soldiers, an invaluable way to boost morale. On June 6, 1944, Hansen’s regiment landed on Utah Beach. Five days later, Hansen was killed, a month short of his 32ndbirthday.

U.S. Soldiers of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, move out over the seawall on Utah Beach after coming ashore.

Awards: Purple Heart

Raymond J. Hansen is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot F, Row 1, Grave 30.

Tullio Micaloni

Tullio Micaloni

‘B’ Company, 712th Tank Battalion, 90th Infantry Division

Staff Sgt., U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Pennsylvania

Died:

7/26/1944

Grave Location:

Plot D, Row 2, Grave 35

Staff Sgt. Tulio Micaloni with an M4 Sherman during training maneuvers in the United States.

SSgt. Tullio Micaloni was born on April 9, 1913, in Oneida, Pa., the third of six children. His parents had immigrated from the Val di Cembra, an area of Northern Italy that at the time was part of Austria. 

Micaloni poses with a Browning Machine Gun during training in 1941.

In 1936, at the age of 23, Micaloni joined the Army, grateful for permanent employment. He served with the 59thCoast Artillery in the Philippines and in January 1939 was he transferred to the 11thCavalry headquartered at The Presidio in Monterey, Calif. 

In the 1930s this scene of the 11th Cavalry participating in Army Day at the Presidio of Montgomery was prevalent. Micaloni joined the 11th Cavalry at the Presido in 1939.

On June 30, 1944 Micaloni’s battalion landed on French shores. The Sherman tanks threaded their way through the wreckage on Omaha Beach, the debris left over from the D-Day assault of June 6. July 3 marked the start of a nine-day encounter with German troops, for the seizure of Mont-Castre (Hill 122) and Le Plessis (Beaucoudray). Every component of the 712thTank Battalion was utilized to support various regiments of the 90th Infantry Division.

B Company of the 712th Tank Battalion pose for a group picture.
Near St. Jores, France, 90th Division infantrymen inch forward, while flanked by a tank, as they push through Normandy, July 1944.

On July 26, during a battle to take the town of Périers, Micaloni’s tank struck a stack of land mines near the Ford of Hausley Quarry and exploded. Micaloni was killed at age 31. The town was liberated the following day. Micaloni is one of four 90thDivision GIs memorialized on a monument in Périers.

Staff Sergeant Tulio Micaloni

Micaloni is one of four 90th Division GIs memorialized on a monument in Périers.

"The Four Braves" Monument commemorates the 90th ID and the liberation of Periers, France on July 27, 1944. It depicts Andrew Speese, Richard Richtman, Tullio Micaloni, and Virgil Tangborn. Micaloni is shown gesturing for his tank crew to roll forward.

Awards: Purple Heart

Tullio Micaloni is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot D, Row 2, Grave 35.