2nd Ranger Battalion
Plot J, Row 11, Grave 16
1stLt. Robert M. Brice graduated from the Citadel, the famed military college in Charleston, South Carolina, and then began studying law at the University of Arkansas. However, his studies were interrupted by the war. After officer infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga., Brice said good-bye to his wife and travelled to England in October 1943 as part of the 2ndRanger Battalion. He participated in specialized training in Scotland with British commandos for the planned D-Day assault on the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc.
On the morning of June 6, 1944, the 22-year old Brice climbed into an LCA (Landing Craft Assault) in Weymouth harbor as part of the Pointe du Hoc assault team. Brice’s LCA was diverted along with others from the intended landing point of Pointe du Hoc to Omaha Beach. He was commanding the 1st Platoon of B Company when the LCA carrying the 2nd Platoon of B Company hit a mine, destroying the bow landing ramp and sinking the LCA. The men on board were thrown into deep water, but most made it to shore though they lost their weapons and equipment in the process.
The 1stPlatoon LCA carrying Brice and his men started dropping its landing ramp but got hung up on steel cables below water level. Brice ordered the ramp lowered anyway and jumped into the water ahead of the platoon. He was the first man from his landing craft to reach the beach. In true Ranger style, Brice motioned to the others and called out “Let’s go.” At that moment he was shot and killed by German machine-gun fire.
Awards: Purple Heart
Robert M. Brice is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot J, Row 11, Grave 16.