Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 007, folder 02: Charles Debolt Reed

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Chaplain

Dog Red

Says Cawthorn was shot their cheek while giving an order

COLUMBUS REED, Charles Debolt 29th DIV 0 9

Box, 7, #2

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Cinderville, Ohio (30 min fr. Columbus)

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-Day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? Charles Debolt Reed

What was your unit and division? 116 Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Chaplain)

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Omoha Beach, "Dog Red” section. I was in the second wave arriving at H-Hour plus 30 minutes. I witnessed the landing of the first wave.

What was your rank on June 6, 1944 Captain, Chaplains' Corps

What was your age on June 6, 1944? I was thirty-two years of age.

Were you married at that time? Yes. What is your wife!s name? Adaleen Witt Reed Did you have any children at that time? None.

What do you do now? I am the minister of The First Methodist Church in Troy, Ohio with a membership: of approximately 1200 members.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? At least two months before the invasion. I trained with the 116 Infantry Regiment in England for 18 months prior to the invasion.

What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? Because of the bad weather conditions the Invasion was postponed 24 hours. All the men and officers were very serious minded and several of them came to me for consultation and prayer.

What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in). There was some talk that the invasion might be postponed for another 24 hours, but at midnight we knew it was on. Early in the morning of D-day the planes were softening up the beach and beyond the beach for our landing. We could see the flashes as the bombs dropped on their targets.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Charles D. Reed

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? Diaries were not permitted, lest they get into the hands of the enemy. The memories of that day shall never be forgooten

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Many of my closest friends were killed in the landing; and one of my closest friends Staff-Sargeant Arthur Moore had his head torn ofTby a large shall. fragment as he was pulling me out of danger. Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? My organist Cpl. MeDermott was machine-gunnned and died on the beach. I talked with him before he expired. He had a premonition before the invasion that he would never live through the day. He carried a Bazooka in the invasion and was a quick target far the enemy.

After being wounded myself, I was able to help another friend into the beach. He recognized me from a distance , and yelled to me "Chaplain, are you praying?.” and after he had caught my attention he said "Pray for me." I had the use of only one leg but was able to get to him in the water and drag him to shore.

Were you wounded? I was wounded in the invasion, and later again in Vier, Franc I was hospitalized in England from the first wound. Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing? My leg was completely numb and had no control of it at all.

Do you remember seeing or bearing anything that seems funny now, even / though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time? I witnessed our Headquarters Company Commander giving an order to his men to wipe out a sniper, and during the giving of the order the sniper shot the Commander through his cheek. The bullet went through his cheeks but never touched a single tooth. Ernie Pyle, the news correspondent wrote up the incident in one of his articles.

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? One of our Aid Men had been called upon to go out to evacuate a wounded man. All morning he had been reading his prayer missal ( Catholic ) and admiring a picture of his wife and three precious daughters. He and three other aid men went out, but in the process of evacuation he was shot by a German sniper, and the wounded men jumped off the stretcher and took off. They never did find out who the supposedly wounded man was.

I witnessed many indidents of heroism.

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- for Cornelius Kyan 3 - Your name Charles D. Reed

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either?

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? I was aboard the Thomas Jefferson, talking and praying with men.

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? I was on the Normandy Beach, frightened to death as flares from German planes lighted the beach brighter than day light with the flares they were dropping.

Do you know of anybody else who landed within those 24 hours (midnight June 5 to midnight June 6) as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? I do not have names or addresses of any others now. A Major Charles Cauthorne, from Virginia was the Headquarters Company Commander who was shot through the cheeks while giving an order.

Chaplain (Major) O. N. G. 166th Regimental Combat Team

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

Cornelius Ryan

Frances Ward Research, The Reader 's Digest

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give to [?William?]

PARSONAGE 832 NORTH COURT STREET PHONE 52

The First Methodist Church Charles D. Reed Minister Circleville, Ohio

CHURCH & STUDY 120 NORTH PICKAWAY STREET PHONE 997

April 26th, 1958

Miss Frances Ward READER’S DIGEST 230 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y. Dear Miss Ward:

My attention has been brought to an article appearing in the April 11th publication of the "Second Army Sentinel" relative to a proposed history of D-Day(June 6, 1944.)

I happen to be one of the first Chaplains, (if not the first chaplain) to land with the invasion forces on Omaha Beach at H-Hour plus thirty minutes. I was in the second wave that landed.

For eighteen months prior to D-Day I trained with the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division in England. I was wounded on D-Day and the next day returned to a hospital in England, and about a month later returned to my unit in France. I was later wounded the second time in Vier, France but was not evacuated. I remained with my regiment until after V-E Day. During my days in combat I was awarded The Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak-Leaf Cluster, and the Bronze Arrow Head for the Invasion, and four combat campaign stars. I spent thirty-three months overseas, and was in the active service for forty- four months.

I am still related to the Armed Forces in a National Guard capacity. I am the regimental chaplain in the 166th Infantry Regimental Combat Team with Headquarters at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio.

If I can be of any assistance in the writing of "A History of D-Day" I shall be very happy to do so.

Charles D. Reed Charles D. Reed Chaplain(Major) Ohio National Guard

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