“We were kids. We were all just kids….”
Frank Davita was just barely 19 years old on June 6th, 1944 when he sailed, with many friends and comrades, into the very mouth of hell.
A teenager in Brooklyn when World War II began, Davita and many of his friends couldn’t wait to join the battle after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Though his mother advised waiting until after his high school graduation, Davita didn’t want to. He quit high school in the spring of his senior year with several of his friends, joining the Coast Guard knowing it would get him to the action the fastest.
In this heart-rending video, Davita discusses his experience on the USS Samuel Chase as it attempted to unload soldiers on Omaha Beach. Davita was in charge of operating the lever that would open and close the ramp from which the young soldiers would exit the boat to storm the beach. He describes the sound of the machine gun fire from the German army against the up positioned ramp as like that of a typewriter. He knew that once he lowered that gate his friends would be mowed down like wheat. They were.
Now in his 90s, his stark recollections are especially poignant today as young men and women fend off Russian advances in Ukraine.
Watch his gut wrenching interview and never forget the debt we owe to those brave and passionate souls who saved us all on a French beach in 1944.