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Father-in-Law and D-Day - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Father-in-Law and D-Day"
This oral history essay is on the writer's interview of her father-in-law, Jules "Chic" M. Chicoine, a paratrooper with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division that saw action in France during the Second World War. Focusing on events before and after his first combat jump into enemy territory on June 5, 1944, one day before D-Day, Chic's story of his personal experiences during the war gives a first-hand view of how young ordinary Americans did some brave heroic things out of love for their families and their country.
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Download file "Father-in-Law and D-Day" to see previous pages... He signed up and volunteered to be trained as a paratrooper, following the footsteps of his older brother George, who was already in the Army and was fighting with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
In August 1941, Chic registered at Fort Devins, Massachusetts and being newly-married and an expert meat cutter,
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he was told that he would be given consideration to work as a Staff Sergeant at a meat cutting plant in Chicago, preparing meat for the troops. Chic would not have anything of it.
So the Army sent him to train as a paratrooper at Camp Taccoa, Georgia. Chic, chuckling during the interview, said that it used to be called Camp Tombs because the camp's site used to be a casket factory. Since he spoke French, was good at photography because of his father, could read maps and the compass very well, and had a good sense of direction, Chic was assigned to work in military intelligence and was trained to be a paratrooper who would be dropped behind enemy lines from a plane so they could check on the enemy, sabotage their transport and communication lines, and give information to American troops on where the enemy was holed up. It was dangerous stuff because these paratroopers would always be the first ones to fight the enemy so they could keep safe those who would come later during the attack (Encarta).
From September to October 1941, the training at Camp Tombs turned Chic and thousands of other recruits into hardened young soldiers, preparing them for the tough years ahead. Then off they went to the Parachute School at Fort Benning, Georgia for more training, this time as paratroopers. Chic learned to jump from high altitudes, and shortly before coming home for the Christmas holidays in 1941, he earned his wings (paratroopers who complete their training get a set of golden wings that they proudly display on their uniforms) after his fifth training jump from an airplane thousands of feet up in the sky. The first two jumps were pretty scary, but Chic got the hang of it and found it pretty exciting that he got his wings ahead of the others in his group.
In 1942, Chic underwent more paratrooper and combat training Camp McCall in North Carolina, where they practiced landing behind enemy lines, engaging in dangerous maneuvers, and jumping some more from planes. It was perhaps this long training program that kept Chic alive when he finally saw action, although some of his friends who trained with him never survived the war, and some survived but were seriously wounded. Anyway, during the whole time he underwent training, Chic and Lorraine, his wife of less than a year, lived in their own quarters just outside the camp, like other married soldiers did, and this may have been Chic's secret to learning the art of staying alive in the midst of danger. Having someone to come home to somehow sharpens a man's sense of danger and survival, and this made him sensitive to what goes on around him, preventing him from becoming careless (Ambrose).
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