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Willard U. Begel

519th Port Battalion

Technician Fourth Class, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:




Grave Location:

Plot H, Row 17, Grave 37

Members of the 519th Port Battalion HQ at their headquarters, a German bunker.

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.

The 519th Port Battalion digging foxholes on Utah Bech shortly after D-Day.
Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation where the 519th Port Battalion along with T/4 Willard U. Begel learned about rigging, stowing, and other responsibilities of the Army stevedore.

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.

Memorial road marker for Begel at the Junction of D243 and D421 near Utah Beach.

Awards: Purple Heart

Willard U. Begel is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot H, Row 17, Grave 37.