June 6th a.m. Omaha Beach Normandy, France 1944
US 1st DIV. ARMY INFANTRY
LCI (L) Flotilla Ten LCI-83
US Amphibious Force
Going into the beach it looked like the beach was covered with driftwood--when we got close we realized the beach was covered with bodies. When unloading the 1st division, some of the LCI (L) had to be stopped because the living could not climb over the dead. So well did the German 88's do their job that "the guns concentrated on the ramps and forward part of the landing craft" that it was impossible to get past the pile of dead and wounded. Some had to back off the beach and small boats came alongside and finished unloading the men who had not been able to get ashore.
Our Skipper, Lt. Hutchinson, found his way to the beach, which was barred by obstacles. A small boat took away thirty-six of the infantrymen. Before another boat could take off a load a shell killed three more men and wounded thirteen. He decided to try to jam through the obstacles again, when a mine blew a hole in the bottom and forward part of the number one troop compartment, injuring and killing a few more men. We grounded on the beach, dropped our ramps, and the rest got ashore. We abandoned ship and went ashore with the troops. After the tide went out and while under fire, we patched the landing craft as well as we could. When the tide came back in we retracted her and with pumps working constantly took her to England for repairs.
A DAY WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
Leroy C. Bowen Jr. RM 3/C LCI (L) 83