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Courage & Heroism Tour

This tour visits five graves of those who were awarded high honors for their acts of valor in the Normandy Campaign.

The American forces landing in Normandy demonstrated a remarkable level of courage, competence and sacrifice. This tour will take visitors to five graves of those whose acts of valor led to them being awarded the Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross. 

Arthur B. Buschlen

Arthur B. Buschlen

16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division

Sergeant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Ohio

Died:

6/6/1944

Grave Location:

Plot B, Row 19, Grave 4

1st Infantry Division assault troops aboard an LCVP approaching Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

Sgt. Arthur B. Buschlen was born in Gladwin, Mich. in 1915, to Amelia Brandt and Gilion Buschlen. He first fought with the 16thInfantry Regiment, 1stInfantry Division in the campaigns in North Africa and Sicily, and received a Bronze Star for his actions in the Sicilian Campaign. He was already a combat veteran when, on June 1, 1944, Buschlen and other soldiers from the 16thInfantry Regiment left their D-Camps to board amphibious assault ships at Port Weymouth. Units were assigned to the amphibious assault ships USS Samuel Chase, USS Henrico and the HMS Empire Anvilon the eve of their third amphibious landing of the war.

U.S. assault on Omaha Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944. 16th Infantry Regiment.

Buschlen was in the first wave of the 16thInfantry Regiment known as Force O. The “Big Red One” was to land on Easy Red and Fox Green sectors of Omaha Beach.

Approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day, Buschlen attempted to save two wounded men when their boat capsized under heavy enemy fire. He was hit several times and was severely wounded. In spite of his wounds, Buschlen attempted to salvage equipment that became entangled in the barbed wire barriers of the English Channel, before succumbing to his injuries. For his conspicuous gallantry and heroic actions, Buschlen was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

As the first wave to land at Omaha, the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division leave their Coast Guard landing boat amidst enemy fire.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star

Distinguished Service Cross

Arthur B. Buschlen is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot B, Row 19, Grave 4.

Paul Edwin Alexander

Paul Edwin Alexander

60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division

Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Indiana

Died:

6/14/1944

Grave Location:

Plot E, Row 14, Grave 39

The 60th Infantry Regiment insignia.

SSgt. Paul Edwin Alexander fought with the 60thInfantry Regiment, 9thInfantry Division in North Africa, and landed with his unit at Palermo, the capital of Sicily, in August 1943. He helped the division capture Randazzo and open the way for Gen. Omar Bradley’s 2ndCorps to capture Messina. The 60thRegiment, nicknamed the “Go-Devils,” left Sicily and traveled to Winchester, England, where it trained for D-Day. His regiment landed at Utah Beach on D+5 to reinforce the 4thInfantry Division as part of the drive to capture the crucial port city of Cherbourg. The 9thwas on the northern end of the assault, attacking towards the town of Sainte-Colombe, with the 82ndAirborne on the southern flank.

Alexander at during Basic Training at Camp Wolters, Texas c. July 1942.
To the left, Staff Sgt. Alexander. To his right is his good friend Joseph Schepis from New York. Schepis was killed in action July 15, 1945.

On June 14, 1944 the first day of the attack, Alexander’s Company ‘G’ was held up by machine-gun fire from an enemy strongpoint. He saw the difficulty of the situation and led his squad forward to attack the enemy position. As he moved ahead of his men, he was hit and mortally wounded, but continued on, leading his squad and directing the attack. Alexander threw hand grenades into enemy machine-gun positions, completely silencing the guns, protecting his men, and moving the operation forward. After his death, Alexander was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, America’s second highest honor for heroism. 

To the left is Staff Sgt. Alexander. To the right is his assistant squad Edward McGrath. McGrath was wounded in August 1944.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart

Distinguished Service Cross
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Paul Edwin Alexander is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot E, Row 14, Grave 39.

Turner Brashears Turnbull

Turner Brashears Turnbull

505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Colorado

Died:

6/7/1944

Grave Location:

Plot E, Row 21, Grave 21

1stLt. Turner Brashears Turnbull III was a half-Choctaw member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82ndAirborne Division. Turnbull was born in Durant, Okla. on October 30, 1921, to a full-blood Choctaw father and a Scottish mother. His great-grandparents, Turner B. Turnbull, Sr. and Angelico “Jerico” Perkins, walked the infamous Choctaw Trail of Tears. 

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, en route to Sicily on July 8, 1943.

Turnbull joined the 180thInfantry of the Oklahoma 45th Division National Guard.  Following training, Turnbull became a paratrooper with the 82ndAirborne Division, serving in the North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns. In Sicily he sustained a life-threatening abdominal gunshot wound and was hospitalized in England for four months. Though severely wounded in action, Turnbull still chose to rejoin his unit for the D-Day invasion.

Paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment take positions around Sainte-Mère- glise during the morning of June 6, 1944.

Under the cover of darkness, Turnbull’s 2ndBattalion, 505thParachute Infantry Regiment, 82ndAirborne Division parachuted into France near Sainte-Mère-Église on the morning of June 6, 1944. Because a major German assault was expected from the north, the 2nd Battalion was ordered to proceed to the hamlet of Neuville-au-Plain, capture it, and set up a defensive line to protect the stronghold of Sainte-Mère-Église. Turnbull set out with a small platoon of 42 men. They made their way through Sainte-Mère-Église and up to the high ground north of the town. 

On D-Day +1, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment patrol through Sainte-Mère- glise.

Turnbull had barely made it into position when the German 1058thGrenadier Regiment unleashed an attack, outnumbering the Americans about five to one.  Turnbull’s unit was at a great disadvantage, armed with only a single machine gun, a bazooka team, a few Browning automatic rifles and rifles. It was hardly a match for the strength of the German 1058thGrenadier Regiment. Turnbull deployed what little equipment and few men he had on both sides of the road to block the German attack. 

According to some accounts, no sooner had Turnbull positioned his men than the Germans hit. Turnbull was now confronted with the large enemy column approaching 400 yards away. For eight hours, Turnbull’s small unit fought courageously and held its ground. Only 16 of the 42 men who had gone to Neuville-au-Plain survived, but the fight kept the enemy in the north from breaking through while the defenders of Sainte-Mère-Église fought off a simultaneous attack from the south. Turnbull received the Silver Star for this action. 

On the first day of the invasion of fortress Europe, the 505thParachute Infantry Regiment held the line at Sainte-Mère-Église thanks to the 22-year-old officer. On the morning of June 7, Turnbull was on his way to speak to his first sergeant when a mortar round exploded nearby. He was killed instantly. 

Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart

Turner Brashears Turnbull is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot E, Row 21, Grave 21.

Frank D. Peregory

Frank D. Peregory

116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division

Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Virginia

Died:

6/14/1944

Grave Location:

Plot G, Row 21, Grave 7

TSgt. Frank D. Peregory was born April 10, 1916 in Esmont, Va. and grew up in a in Albemarle County, Va.

Aerial view of Isigny-sur-Mer, c. 1944.

On D-Day, Peregory landed with the 116thInfantry Regiment on Omaha Beach. After breaking out of the Vierville Draw, his regiment turned right and headed up the coast to link up with units of the 4thDivision landing on Utah Beach.

On June 8, 1944, Peregory advanced with his company on the strongly held German posts at Grandcamp, France. The German defenses halted the advance, raining down machine-gun fire from a firmly entrenched position overlooking the town. Supporting artillery and tank fire proved futile. Taking full initiative and under continuous fire, Peregory advanced up the hill towards a crest where an entrenchment leading to the main enemy fortifications lay. He leaped into the trench and came upon a squad of German soldiers. Peregory attacked them with his bayonet, threw hand grenades, and managed to kill eight Germans, after which three enemy soldiers surrendered. Peregory would force 32 more riflemen to surrender,  capture the machine gunners, and successfully clear the way for his battalion to continue the advance. 

Six days after his courageous and heroic act, Peregory was killed in action while the division was securing Isigny and attempting to move to St. Lo, which took five weeks of intense combat to liberate.  He was 28 years old.

Rededication of the Virginia National Guard's training complex in Tech. Sgt. Frank D. Peregory's honor.
Honorary marker in Charlottesville, VA for Peregory.

Awards: Medal of Honor, Soldier’s Medal, Purple Heart

Medal of Honor

Frank D. Peregory is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot G, Row 21, Grave 7.

Jimmie W. Monteith Jr.

Jimmie W. Monteith Jr.

16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Virginia

Died:

6/6/1944

Grave Location:

Plot I, Row 20, Grave 12

1stLt. Jimmie W. Monteith Jr. was a six-foot two-inch redhead. When America entered the war, Monteith joined the Army in Richmond, Va. and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

1st Lt. Jimmie W. Monteith, Jr. poses in uniform in 1938.
While at Fort McClellan, Monteith said the theater was "one of the most impressive sights that I have ever seen." After his death, the amphitheater was renamed "In Lasting Memory of Jimmie W. Monteith."

As a member of the 1stInfantry Division, he saw battle in North Africa and Sicily. When his unit was transferred to England in November 1943, he began preparations for the Normandy Invasion. His platoon landed on the Fox Green Sector of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Under heavy enemy fire, Monteith, without any regard for his own personal safety, moved up and down the beach to reorganize the ranks for a further advance. Leading his men towards a narrow ledge across the flat, Monteith found the comparative safety of a cliff. Leaving his men to recoup, he returned to the beach to lead two tanks that were blinded by enemy fire through a minefield over exposed terrain into firing positions. He then rejoined his company on the cliff, and led them in the capture of an advantageous position on the hill. Attempting to hold onto the position, Monteith fought off vicious counterattacks and repeatedly crossed 200 yards of exposed terrain to strengthen his defensive chain. However, the German resistance was too strong and he was killed by enemy fire after being surrounded.

Monteith in his light khaki uniform while in the United States before shipping overseas.

For his gallantry he received the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart. An Army Reserve Center in Richmond was named after him along with an outpost for the U.S. Army in Kosovo.  

Monteith and his mom in the United States before shipping overseas.

Awards: Medal of Honor, Purple Heart

Medal of Honor

Jimmie W. Monteith Jr. is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot I, Row 20, Grave 12.