Texoma Veteran Recalls D-Day Battle


Friday marks the 70th anniversary since troops from the Grand alliance stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion ever.

One of the few remaining survivors of that epic battle right here in Wichita Falls, who like so many of those heroes, has been living a quiet life far removed from the horrific sounds and scenes of that day...

When most think of D-day they think of endless waves of troops storming the beaches of Normandy.

But, for those that were there the action started long before the landing, but shortly after the troops left England on ships.

"I seen something down there in the water in front of us that looked like a 5 gallon bucket down there about 4-feet deep," explained Anton Frerich a U.S. Veteran that was there on D-day 70-years ago.

That bucket turned out to be a mine which the ship was able to avoid because of Frerich's mindful watch. The ship behind them however wasn't so fortunate.

"It went around us and caught our infantry boat around us...it sunk in about less than 15-minutes."

Fortunately no soldiers were lost when the ship went down...

The next day Frerich and thousands of other young troops waited in tense and nervous anxiety as the ships sat off the shore at Normandy, waiting.

"We were on that beach and the channel all that night sometime before the night a plane came over, a German was after one of our planes," Frerich said.

It wasn't long before the order to go came and Frerich drove his truck and its Howitzer 105 off the ship and into the battle.

Frerich was ordered to fire on an enemy pillbox that was seven miles from their location, at the very limit of his gun's range.

But Frerich's long hours of training paid off and he took the position out with one shot saving dozens of lives.

"Leuitenent and his bunch came back came up to me and said "who was the one that fired that shell?" And i said "that was me!" said Frerich.

But unlike many others, Frerich came home a hero only to those who knew him because after the war ended Frerich was separated from his company.

He received no medals, No plaques and No recognition for his service.

All he has to remember those days are a few pictures in a small booklet, a map and the flood of memories that come on this day every year.

But to those that do know him, he will forever be a hero.

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