By Huy Nguyen, Seahawks.com Contributor
On this day in history – June 6, 1944 – 12,000 planes along with more than 7,000 amphibious assault vessels all carrying nearly 160,000 Allied troops across the English Channel invaded Nazi-occupied France as part of Operation Overlord to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation. Lieutenant Colonel Lynn “Buck” Compton, then a first lieutenant in Easy Company of the 101st Airborne paratroopers, was part of the invasion force that jumped out of C-47s behind enemy lines into Normandy, France.
You may recognize Easy Company from the 2001 HBO series “Band of Brothers” and this ‘Day of Days’ chronicled with startling imagery in the second episode. To see a surreal portrayal of Lt. Compton’s character, as played by actor Neal McDonough, check out episode seven – ‘The Breaking Point’ chronicling Easy Company’s time in the Ardennes forest shortly after the Battle of the Bulge. These two episodes will be my evening viewing tonight as we remember the bloody beginning of the end of World War II.
Today we celebrate the courageous lives of the men and women, many of whom did not get to see D-Day plus 1, but whose sacrifice – from small to ultimate – made D-Day plus 25,185 possible. Thank you Lt. Col. Compton.
On November 7, 2010 during the Military Appreciation game against the New York Giants at CenturyLink Field, Lt. Colonel Compton raised the 12th Man flag. Following the raising and this interview with Compton, Seahawks.com web host Tony Ventrella offered this piece about his encounter.
Lt. Col. Compton died at his home in Burlington, Wash. on February 26, 2012. He was 90 years young but only 23 when he dropped in to Normandy.