2nd Ranger Battalion
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.
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.
Awards: Purple Heart
Joseph A. Rafferty is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot I, Row 7, Grave 3.