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Joseph A. Rafferty

2nd Ranger Battalion

Captain, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Pennsylvania

Died:

6/6/1944

Grave Location:

Plot I, Row 7, Grave 3

Entering the service from Pennsylvania, Capt. Joseph Rafferty was promoted to that rank on June 5, 1944 – the day before D-Day.  He served as the commanding officer for A Company of the 2ndRanger Battalion during the Normandy landings.

Joseph A. Rafferty with Company A of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Dix, New Jersey. October 1943.
A Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, boarding LCA, Weymouth, Dorset, England, June 1, 1944. Standing at the extreme right is A Company Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph A. Rafferty.

On June 6, Rafferty and A Company landed near Vierville on Omaha Beach. After successfully crossing the beach, Rafferty crossed back to the water to urge his men forward, shouting, “For God’s sake men, get off this beach!” It was at that point that he was hit in the legs by enemy fire. Falling forward to his knees in the water he continued, “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry or everybody’s going to get killed.” Another bullet struck Rafferty in the head. Medic Robert Lambert came to his assistance, sitting with him in the water until he passed away. 

Led by Able Company, the 2nd Ranger Battalion marches on the Esplanade in Weymouth, Dorset, England, to embarkation area, June 1, 1944. On the left is Capt. Harvey Cook, the intelligence officer. To his right is A Company commander Capt. Joseph A. Rafferty. Lt. Colonel James Earl Rudder is on the extreme right.

Awards: Purple Heart

Joseph A. Rafferty is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot I, Row 7, Grave 3.