“The Sergeant York of WWII”

Allied invasion plans and German positions in Normandy
Allied invasion plans and German positions in Normandy

Jack Oliver is a Certified Public Accountant with Oliver and Associates from Fairmont, West Virginia who became actively involved in filing a petition on Harrison Summers’ behalf for a Medal of Honor. He spoke to us about Sergeant Harrison Summers and we would like to share some of the story with you.
Sergeant Summers is awarded D.S.C old newspaper clipping Harrison was born in Catawba near Rivesville. Around 1937, after attending East Fairmont High School, Mr. Summers served a tour where he had been stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii before re-enlisting in 1942 for WWII. Jack told us the reason he reenlisted was so that he could train to be a paratrooper; otherwise, he would return to the same duty he left. Once he was trained, he immediately began instructing at the paratrooper school in Ft. Benning, Georgia. Eventually, Mr. Summers received his assignment for Europe and was placed with the 101st Airborne Division (of the First Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment). They were stationed in England preparing to invade German-occupied Normandy.
On June 6, 2:30am (D-Day), Thousands of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne were lifted into France. As the assault force approached the coast, it encountered fog and antiaircraft fire, which forced some of the planes to break formation. Paratroopers from both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions missed their landing zones and were scattered over wide areas. For many, the initial struggle of combat was to find their units and approximately 1500 soldiers from the division were killed or captured. Flight commanders gave orders to jump at the wrong time causing some of the paratroopers to come down in the deep waters fatally injuring them. Harrison Summers was spared by a mishap. When his flight commander gave the order for the paratroopers to jump, the cargo that was to go first got lodged in the cargo door. Minutes went by before they got the bundle out. That offset the commander’s error just enough to place Summers in the proper destination to begin the scheduled raid.
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