"The Longest Day"
Memories by Wade "Bud" Mohr

Throughout these next web pages will be the interview of Wade Mohr on July 1, 1994 by Butch Heman, Staff Writer, of the Carroll, Iowa Times Herald which will be in green highlighted background sections.

The photos were taken by one of Bud's shipmates and comments are by Bud.
As with all memories, especially those over 50 years ago --- they fade some --- so some of the comments may not be 100% accurate.

Mohr's return to Normandy rekindles D-Day memories
The Times Herald
Carroll, IA July 1, 1994
Times Herald Staff Writer

MANNING - Wade Mohr didn't make it to France in time to be part of the glitz and glamour when the world saluted the 50th anniversary of D-Day a few weeks ago.

No matter. His trip back was still as significant.

Wade, who everybody calls "Bud," was on the first landing craft that hit Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting. And he was the one of the few soldiers who stayed on the beach throughout "the longest day."

"I never said a word about D-Day in all these years until this anniversary came up," the retired trucker from Manning said. "I don't know why. Probably just to forget it, you know."


Above on the right side of the picture is Dartmouth College in England.
Dartmouth was used by the U.S. Navy for living quarters and handing out assignments to the different Navy crews. Bud, and all of the other Navy men spent about a week of orientation here and then they received their orders.

Daily drills for the Navy crews while at Dartmouth.
After leaving Dartmouth they went to Southampton, England to the ships they were assigned to.


One of many scenes Bud saw in England was this fishing boat and the men handling fish.
The seagulls were constantly picking up scraps of food laying along the pier.
U.S. LCT 537
Above is the crew of the 537 LCT (landing craft tank) while in Southampton waiting for the D-Day Invasion. Wade "Bud" Mohr is in the back row -- far right with white sailor's cap on.

Unlikely sailor

Mohr was drafted right out of high school. His father, Henry, who fought in World War I, suggested he join the Army. Mohr told his preference to the draft officials but was assigned to the Navy and sent to Idaho for boot camp.

He almost got court-marshaled his second day there. Mohr didn't know how to swim, which is the first thing the recruits were tested on, jumping from a 30-foot tower.

'"They said 'How far can you swim?' and I said 'How deep is your water?"' he said, laughing. "I got my meals taken away for a whole day but they never court marshaled me."

Mohr was trained as a beach jumper, assigned to the amphibious force and stationed on the USS LCT (landing craft tank) No. 537. He was the youngest of the crew of 17. Mohr was a motormac, short for motor machinist, responsible for running the boat's engines.

LCTs were among the smallest ships to cross the English Channel for the D-Day invasion. They were flat-bottomed with ramps on the front that dropped to unload men and equipment. The 537 was 50 by 200 feet and carried four Sherman tanks chained to the center of the deck with four Jeeps on each side.



To the left is Bud with his M1 rifle and bayonet.

They were required to train with the bayonet for close contact with the enemy should they swim aboard the LCTs during the D-Day Invasion.



Mabel --- "Ship's Mascot" and "Good Luck"
Mabel was with the crew of the 537 for all 8 months they were on their ship. Bud purchased 18 rabbit's foots on chains while in Dartmouth, England. Each of the 17 men on the ship got one and one was hung around Mable's neck.

Mabel and rabbits' feet

Prior to the assault on Normandy, the amphibious force was docked at Southampton, England, for six weeks. There was no mail or contact with the shore and the boat had to be covered with a camouflage net.

When the 537 was loading in England, Mohr found a black puppy on shore. He brought her aboard and his mates named her Mabel.

Mohr bought a rabbit's foot for each member of the crew, including Mabel. He credits that for letting everyone on the boat -- except a sailor who committed suicide on the trip to Normandy -- make it through the war "without a scratch."

Crew of the 537 "Flatbottom" LCT


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