519th Port Battalion
Plot H, Row 17, Grave 37
Technician 4thClass Willard U. Begel served in the 519thPort Battalion in the U.S. Army and participated in the Normandy Invasion, landing at Utah Beach. Begel was born on June 4, 1921 in Lehighton, Pa., and grew up the eldest child in a working-class family during the Great Depression. After graduating high school, Begel became a welder until he was drafted. He reported for duty on July 13, 1942 and by 1943 was a Technician 4thClass.
Begel’s battalion was activated on June 25, 1943 at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pa. as the 519thPort Battalion. The 519thembarked from Camp Miles Standish in Boston, Mass. aboard the SS E.P. Alexanderto England early in 1944. After a brief training period, the 519th Port Battalion became attached to the 1st Engineer Special Brigade for participation in the Normandy landings, going ashore at Utah Beach on June 7, 1944. The battalion’s mission was to transport vital supplies onto the beach. Begel was killed in action on June 15, 1944 in a German air attack on Utah Beach. He was 22 years old. Today, Begel Road on Utah Beach is named in his honor.
Awards: Purple Heart
Willard U. Begel is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot H, Row 17, Grave 37.