world war ii: omaha beach

U.S. Pfc. Rocco Festa of Brooklyn, New York, Military Police Platoon of the 2nd Infantry Division, tries to learn a few French phrases from a military issued French dictionary aboard the Liberty ship SS John Hay. Elements of the division had already landed on Omaha Beach on 6 June. Off the coast of Omaha Beach, near Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes and Vierville-sur-Mer, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 15 June 1944.

#DDAY70 D-Day + 4:

A platoon of Negro troops surrounds a farm house in a town in France, as they prepare to eliminate a German sniper holding up an advance. 10 June 1944. Omaha Beachhead, near Vierville Sur-Mer, France.

Local Identifier: 111-SC-190120. From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985

More D-Day images in the new immersive D-Day exhibit from the National Archives on the Google Cultural Institute.

Jack ‘King’ Kirby returns home from World War II in March, 1945, a little over four years after he and Joe Simon drew Captain America slugging Adolf Hitler on the cover of Captain America #1.

Kirby was drafted into the U.S. Army on June 7th, 1943, and served in Company F of the 11th Infantry Division.  Jack arrived on Omaha Beach, Normandy, on August 23, 1944, two months after D-Day, and was assigned the dangerous duty of a reconnaissance scout, according to Jack, by a lieutenant who realized who he was, what he did for a living, and didn’t think highly of him because of it.

Jack nearly had his legs amputated in a London hospital after a severe case of frostbite during the winter of 1944, but made a full recovery. He received a Combat Infantry Badge, Rhineland G0 40 WD45 Campaign Ribbon, and European African Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with One Bronze Battle Star for his service in World War II.

The co-creator of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Nick Fury, and the Avengers (just to name a few) had plenty of experience to draw from when it came to fighting the good fight and helping to save the world. 

A U.S. Army soldier breaches the German landing craft obstacles in the surf under heavy German fire on Omaha Beach during the Allied D-Day invasion (Operation Overlord) of German-occupied France. Omaha Beach, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 6 June 1944. Image taken by Robert Capa.

An LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) from the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Samuel Chase disembarks American troops of “E” Company, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, wading onto the Fox Green section of Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord). American soldiers encountered the newly formed German Wehrmacht’s 352nd Division when landing. During the initial landing, two-thirds of the “E” Company became casualties. Omaha Beach, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 6 June 1944. Image taken by U.S. Coast Guard CPO, Robert F. Sargent.


Revisit the events of World War II during 1944 from Europe to the South Pacific today at the 2014 International Conference on WWII.

Catch the free streaming of all the panels here:

8:00am-9:25am/CST–The Unsung Heroes of D-Day: The Bomber Boys and a Bodyguard of Lies

  • 8:00am-8:05am                 Welcome & Introduction by Dr. Nick Mueller                                                                                    
  • 8:05am-8:10am                 Oral History Showcase - “Masters of the Air”
  • 8:10am-8:35am                 “Sacrifice in the Skies” by Dr. Donald Miller
  • 8:35am-9:00am                 “She Worked Alone: One Double Agent’s Struggles to make a Difference" by Dr. Mary Kathryn Barbier 

9:55am-11:00am– “The Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture on WWII”

  • 9:55am-10:00am               Introduction by Rick Atkinson        
  • 10:00am-10:05am            Oral History Showcase - “Liberating the Eternal City”
  • 10:05am-10:40am            “‘A Remarkable Feat of War’ – Marshal Juin, The French Expeditionary Corps, and the Breakthrough at Monte Cassino” by Dr. Douglas Porch                                    

11:30am-1:00pm/CST–“Breaching Hitler’s Atlantic Wall"                    

  • 11:30am-11:35am            Introduction-Dr. Conrad Crane             
  • 11:35am-11:40am            Oral History Showcase - “The Great Crusade”    
  • 11:40am-12:05pm            “The First 100 Yards: Storming the Beaches” by Joseph Balkoski                                                           
  • 12:05pm-12:30pm            “From the Beaches, to the Bocage and the Breakout” by Antony Beevor

1:30pm-3:00pm/CST- “Stalin’s Revenge”                                     

  • 1:30pm-1:35pm                 Introduction by Dr. Reina Pennington
  • 1:35pm-2:00pm                 “Operation BAGRATION and the Annihilation of Army Group Center” by Dr. Robert Citino      
  • 2:00pm-2:25pm                 “While the Allies Watched and Waited: The Warsaw Uprising” by Dr. Alexandra Richie                            

3:25pm-4:25pm/CST - “Hell is Upon Us - The Marianas”               

  • 3:25pm-3:30pm                  Introduction by Richard Frank
  • 3:30pm-3:35pm                  Oral History Showcase by “Japanese Desperation and Annihilation”
  • 3:35pm-4:00pm                  "Pacific Blitzkrieg: The Marianas Campaign" by Lt. Col. Sharon Lacey
  • 4:00pm-4:25pm                  "Revenge For Pearl Harbor: The Marianas Turkey Shoot" by James Hornfischer

5:15pm-6:15pm/CST–The Surge in their Own Words - Veterans Panel                                                                                     

  • 5:15pm-6:15pm                   “D-Day in Their Own Words: A Veterans Panel" Moderated by Joe Balkoski
  • Maj. Gen. John Raaen, 5th Ranger Battalion, Omaha Beach
  • Mr. Richard Sadler, Royal Marine, Juno Beach

A dead American soldier lies on the sand of Omaha Beach, killed by German fire on D-Day, as U.S. troops finally capture and secure the beach. Crossed rifles at his feet form a battle cross. Omaha Beach, Calvados, Lower Normandy, France. 6 June 1944.

This June, the Museum will be taking four D-Day veterans back to the shores of Normandy, France to partake in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations. During their time in Normandy, they will revisit the battlefields where they were stationed and will be honored with other veterans at the 70th Anniversary French and American Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery. These veterans will also share their war stories with those aboard the Museum’s 70th Anniversary of D-Day Cruise in a Veterans Panel monitored by NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

Meet D-Day veteran Cosmo Uttero, of the 175th Reg., 29th Div., who landed on Omaha Beach, who will be traveling with the Museum this June to Normandy.

Cosmo Uttero of Wellesley, Massachusetts joined the Army in June 1943 at the age of 17.  He was assigned to Ft. Devens, Massachussetts and then went to Camp Croft, South Carolina for basic infantry training.  After finishing training in 16 weeks he went straight overseas on the Queen Elizabeth, landing in Scotland in November 1943 where he was assigned to the 29th Division.  From there he shipped down to Cornwall, England where he and his unit were told that they would be the spearhead of the invasion.  They trained along the English coast until 10 days before D-Day, when he was sequestered in preparation for D-Day.

On June 4th his ship sailed for France, but had to turn back due to bad weather and the invasion being postponed for one day.  On D-Day, Uttero’s unit was not set to land until the day after but the horrific losses suffered by the first waves of the 29th Division forced his unit to go in at Vierville-sur-Mer around 12:00pm on June 6th.  Dealing with seasickness onboard the landing craft, Uttero wondered what it was going to be like dying, but his seasickness made him feel like dying would’ve been the lesser of two evils.

Unloading in neck-deep water, Uttero made his way to the beach after jettisoning all of his gear.  As soon as he reached the beach he retrieved a rifle from one of his fallen comrades and made his way forward to the high ground overlooking Omaha Beach.  After making it to the top of the bluffs, he made his way to a small building, having a chance to look back at all of the dead men and burning and wrecked vehicles down below.

Image: Cosmo Uttero in 1943. Image courtesy of Cosmo Uttero.


Today it’s all about D-Day at the 2014 International Conference on WWII.

Stream any of the panels from The D-Day Symposium for free wherever you are here: 

9:10am-10:30am/CST               Session A “Situation and Strategy”

  • 9:10am-9:15am                 Introduction – Dr. Keith Huxen
  • 9:15am-9:40am                 #1 – Dr. Robert Citino-“The German                                               Defenses of Normandy”
  • 9:40am-10:05am               #2 – Dr. Craig Symonds-“Operation                                               NEPTUNE: Getting to the Beaches”

10:45am-12:05pm/CST            Session B “Assault from the Air”

  • 10:45am-10:50am            Introduction – Dr. Keith Huxen
  • 10:50am-11:15am            #3 – Col. Cole Kingseed-“Dick Winters and the Day of Days”
  • 11:15am-11:40am            #4 – Dr. Allan Millett-“The Troop Carrier                                          Command on D-Day: A Reevaluation”

12:05pm-1:40pm                     Lunch Session

  • 1:00pm-1:05pm              Introduction – Dr. Keith Huxen
  • 1:05pm-1:30pm              #5 – Darren Moran-“Utah vs. Omaha: A                                          Difference in Bombing the Beaches” 

1:55pm-3:15pm                      Session C “Battling for the Beaches"

  • 1:55pm-2:00pm             Introduction – Dr. Paul Herbert
  • 2:00pm-2:25pm             #6 – Joseph Balkoski-“The 29th at                                                 Omaha”
  • 2:25pm-2:50pm             #7 – Dr. John McManus-“The Dead and                                         Those About to Die: The 1st ID at                                                   Omaha" 

3:30pm-4:55pm                      Session D “Wrapping up D-Day”

  • 3:30pm-3:35pm             Introduction – Dr. Paul Herbert
  • 3:35pm-4:05pm             #8 – Antony Beevor-“The Combat                                                   Performance of Belligerents in                                                         Normandy”
  • 4:05pm-4:55pm            #9 – “Symposium Roundtable: Featuring                                        all Speakers”

4:55pm-5:00pm                     Closing Remarks-Dr. Nick Mueller

Uncover more about D-Day on the web, here.