By Jennifer Martin - email
Carlton Frazier was drafted one month after he turned 18 years old. He joined the army infantry.
"I said 'where am I going?' He said, 'that's a military secret sir'."
After extensive training, he ended up on the Queen Mary. It was a rough trip.
"It was storm and they was zigzagging to avoid the submarines. They were knocking our ships, it was pretty bad."
He landed first in Scotland, then moved on to England for even more training.
"Day and night assault training under live fire. My job was combat engineers, demolitions on assaults like Omaha Beach."
He was with the 121st Combat Engineers, 29th Infantry Division.
"We hit France. June 6, 1944. I was in the 1st assault wave with the 116th Infantry. I had already made up my mind. I'm gonna kill or get killed."
Guard posts and bunkers, known as pillboxes, spanned the beach. The job of the combat engineers was to destroy them and anything else in the way of the assault wave.
"Hitting those pillboxes was 8 and 10 feet thick. The Navy helped us blow all those obstacles out with the combat engineers to get the infantry to come on up and to land with the assault boats. And the tanks would come in behind for support.
Finally got in on the 3rd day, moved on up close to St. Lo. 5000 bombers hit St. Lo. When we got in there, there was nothing but ashes. You never seen so many Germans killed, civilians too. After we took St. Lo, we eased on up into northern France and came down to Brest, France, where they were building those submarines."
They soon moved on to Germany.
"On December 16, when the Battle of the Bulge broke out, I thought the earth was going to end... The pulverizing and the vibration of the earth. I thought, Lord, this is it."
Frazier and his fellow soldiers worked to push the Germans back. They were moving across the Roer River when, Frazier was hurt.
"3 o'clock in the morning, we were spearheading the 9th army under General Simpson; we were carrying infantry across in 10-man assault boats. Third trip, 88 hit the end of my boat, sunk it. Hit me in the legs and stomach. Lost so much blood."
He went to a Paris hospital.
"No electricity, no elevators. A German prisoner was carrying us up to the second floor. I told that German prisoner, 'don't drop me'."
He moved to a hospital in England for surgery, then sailed back to the US.
"Put us on a train and I said, 'where are we going?' 'Military secret'."
He recovered at a Mississippi hospital and left the service. He never forgot the price of our freedom.
"I appreciate every veteran. If you see a vet, I see a vet, I want to shake his hand and thank him for his service.
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