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Robert Giguere, Legion d'Honneur, Silver Star

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "In the twilight of his life, Robert Giguere, a Navy veteran who survived Omaha Beach on D-Day and later served in the Pacific Theater of World War II, prepared his own funeral arrangements. This included penning his own obituary.
    Giguere died at the age of 93 early Monday morning at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. The obituary appeared in the Laconia Daily Sun, his hometown newspaper, a few days later. He used two short sentences to sum up his military service.
    “In a sense, I don’t think he wanted to brag,” his son, Dennis, said Friday, a few hours before his father’s wake. “In another sense, he knew he did something significant.”
    Giguere’s harrowing experiences on Omaha Beach were described as part of a Monitorseries last June commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe.
    He enlisted at the age of 17, with his mother’s permission. One year later, on his 18th birthday, he awoke in an Army hospital in England covered in shrapnel with a bullet wound throbbing in his shoulder.
    Four days earlier, Giguere rode across the choppy English Channel toward the Normandy coast with the Sixth Naval Beach Battalion. When his carrier grounded on the beach, a Teller mine detonated from beneath and tore through the ship’s hull, killing several soldiers below deck.
    Giguere jumped over the side into the water and waded toward the shore as small arms fire rained down from German bunkers on land. He pulled a drowning soldier along with him up onto the beach, where Giguere was then shot through the shoulder.
    “It was one hell of a mess,” Giguere told the Monitor as he described the day.
    He was separated from his group but continued further inland where he eventually joined a passing group of Army infantry who were moving in toward a ravine where the Germans were positioned.
    After crawling under barbed wire through two ditches and a minefield, Giguere came upon a German pillbox. He tossed in five grenades and then a sixth, a smoke grenade, which provided a target for the massive weapons on the Allies’ destroyers in the channel.
    Giguere followed the Army soldiers deeper inland, to Colleville, where they came upon an old church. Giguere said a German sniper was set up in the steeple. The men fought their way into the lower level of the church where they found a French family being held. Giguere spoke enough French to tell the family to get out before the church was knocked down.
    Giguere returned to the beach to find the unit he had started the day with. He was speaking with Amin Isbir, an officer who had taken cover near a truck, when a German shell exploded near them, killing Isbir and knocking Giguere unconscious.
    After a few weeks recovering in the hospital, Giguere was sent home for a 30-day furlough in Laconia. He then shipped west to California and on to Asia by way of Pearl Harbor.
    Giguere participated in the invasion of the Philippines, and for two weeks, he was behind enemy lines to deliver supplies to Navajo code talkers in the mountains.
    Giguere then fought at Okinawa in April of 1945 where he was eventually shot in the foot. His service at Okinawa earned him a third Purple Heart, though it didn’t come until many years later. More than three decades passed before the bullet was finally removed from his foot. Giguere kept the bullet in a jewelry box in his home.
    Giguere was set to participate in the invasion of Japan but the war ended before the attack. Two atomic bombs were dropped on the island, and the Japanese surrendered.
    “The atomic bomb saved my life,” he said."
    www.concordmonitor.com/Robert-Giguere-D-Day-veteran-dies-32056748
     
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