Back to
Normandy American Cemetery Welcome Screen

Henry S. Golas

2nd Ranger Battalion

First Sergeant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Rhode Island

Died:

6/6/1944

Grave Location:

Plot J, Row 6, Grave 4

Specially marked 2nd Ranger Battalion helmet that was not 1st Sgt. Henry S. Golas but was similar to a helmet that he would have worn with other defining markers.

1stSgt. Henry S. Golas was a member of the 2ndRanger Battalion that was assigned the mission of mounting the cliffs and attacking the guns of Pointe du Hoc.

Golas and Lt. Saloman, with the rest of the 2nd Platoon, Company C, 2nd Ranger Battalion.

After marrying his wife, Genevieve, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Golas volunteered for the 2ndRanger Battalion, a  group of men known for their incredible physical and mental fitness. Golas advanced through the ranks and was soon promoted to first sergeant of Company ‘C’.

In preparation for D-Day, the men of the 2ndRanger Battalion were trained to scale the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and at Pointe de la Percée. It was a dangerous but necessary mission to be carried out. He trained with his men for a year before heading to Normandy.

The 2nd Ranger Battalion marches in Weymouth, Dorset, England to the embarkation area for Normandy on June 1, 1944.
Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, the objective of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on D-Day.

The 2ndBattalion landed at Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6. Witnesses confirm that Golas never made it to the cliffs. He paused at the water’s edge to help and encourage his men. As Ronald Lane describes in his book Rudder’s Rangers, “Golas was still at the water’s edge when suddenly he was hit by machine gun bullets. He raised his rifle and started charging across the sand, determined and in pain. The German machine gunner continued to fire, hitting Golas with every step he took. He fell to his knees, tried to raise his rifle but couldn’t, and then he fell forward as though with his last breath he wanted to continue the charge.”

2nd Ranger Battalion helmet marking a fallen Ranger after the Battle of Pointe du Hoc.

Awards: Purple Heart

Henry S. Golas is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot J, Row 6, Grave 4.