Veteran Recalls Normandy Invasion On 70th Anniversary of D-Day - KMSP-TV

Veteran Recalls Normandy Invasion On 70th Anniversary of D-Day

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Denville, New Jersey (My9NJ) - The 70th anniversary of D-Day has come and WWII veteran, 87 year-old, Alfred John Sippel set-off on a journey back to Normandy, France for the first time to pay his respects.

Sippel is a First-Class Seaman, from Denville, New Jersey. He joined the Navy when he was just 16 years-old and fresh out of boot camp. He turned 17 years-old in January and was in Normandy that following June.

"I made a little promise to myself a long time ago that I wanted to go back and pay my respects. Those guys weren’t as lucky as I was and that’s what I’m gonna do,” he explained.

This trip and the history behind D-Day are clearly very emotional for Mr. Sippel. He shared stories about how his ship headed for Omaha Beach, taking on men from another ship for the mission. He described the conditions they were under at that time which were horrid.

“It was a long trip and these guys were tired and weary from being on that boat, cooped up there for a week and they were soaking wet. They were cold and they were sick. Most of them should have been headed for sick-bay instead of heading for that meat grinder," he recalled holding back tears.

As a brave young man Sippel volunteered for a very important task. Mail from loved ones for men stationed out in the sea off Normandy had been piling up and Sippel took a small boat out to hand letters to his fellow soldiers.

“They asked for volunteers so I volunteered so we went and got their mail and brought their mail out to them and I was kind of glad that happened,” he said.

This was particularly hard for Sippel to talk about because this was probably the last piece of mail that many of those seamen ever got to read from loved ones.

The youngest survivors of the June 6, 1944 allied invasion are now in their late 80's, making this possibly the last large gathering of D-day veterans.


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