Interview Profile

June 6th, 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Seventy-five years ago, 18 year old Frank Snyder of Yulee, Florida found himself in the belly of a transport ship on his way to invade Normandy Beach. He was trained as a Navy corpsman assigned to the 6th Beach Battalion. Frank watched as landing ship after landing ship approached the beach, dropped their ramps, and unloaded their precious cargo of armed U.S. soldiers. Before his battalion could even unload, a German 88 mm shell took out the three commanders of his battalion leaving the group virtually leaderless. Making his way to the beach, Petty Officer Snyder became separated from his assigned platoon. He managed to join an army medical group and spent hours bandaging wounds and applying tourniquets.
                                                                                          

As night fell the task was to get as many of the wounded as possible to boats that could take them to hospital ships. Attempting to transfer a stretcher with a wounded man on it while standing in chest deep water was difficult enough. Compound that with darkness and boat operators unwilling to ground their craft for stability and the task became nearly impossible. In addition, battle uniforms became increasingly saturated with sea water, bringing about the logical conclusion: remove the wet clothing. Incoming boat crews were shocked to see stretcher bearers stripped to their skivvies or less.

Frank awoke on the morning of his 19th birthday in a trench in France. He had survived the D-Day invasion of Normandy and helped many other soldiers and sailors to do so. While he never considered himself a hero, he was one of the many men who brought freedom to the world.

The 6th USN Beach Battalion in which he served was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre by a grateful French nation in May 1945. In September 2000 the 6th USN Beach Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. The paperwork commending the citation had been lost for over 50 years.

To hear Frank’s story in his own words click here.

Frank Delano Snyder

June 7, 1925 – August 25, 2007