Last Updated on June 3, 2019 2:09 pm
June 3, 2019
MORTAIN, FRANCE – Yesterday, 20 North Carolina Army National Guard soldiers and three WWII veterans of the 30th Infantry Division “Old Hickory” are in France to commemorate the Battle of Mortain and D-Day.
The 30th was a National Guard unit comprised mostly of men from North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The division landed at Omaha Beach, in Normandy only a few days after D-Day and was immediately ordered into combat to defend key locations from the Nazi counterattack.
Mortain, France was one of those key locations, in Normandy.
In the book Old Hickory, by Robert Baumer, it states that in August 1944, Hitler hysterically issued his sternest order, “Strike through Mortain to seal off the Americans at Avranches!”
On August 7, four Nazi Panzer Divisions attacked the 30th Infantry Division, and for 6 days at Mortain, the Heroes of “Old Hickory” fought the Nazis back and Mortain and the Normandy Campaign was saved.
The 30th was never awarded a citation recognizing this critical victory during the initial months of the Normandy invasion.
Many believe the Mortain victory was one of the most outstanding achievements of the war in Europe and the time has come to award the 30th Infantry Division the Presidential Unit Citation for their victory before there no more Old Hickory men left alive.
Tony Jaber, 94 years old and a resident of Raleigh is an “Old Hickory” veteran of the Battle of Mortain and the Battle of the Bulge. He is attending events in France and said this about the ferocity of the Battle of Mortain, “I would take 6 months in the Bulge over 6 days in Mortain. Those were the hardest days of the war for me.”
Last year, the NC National Guard presented President Donald Trump, who was in Charlotte, with the Presidential Unit Citation request paperwork. King Kenny, of Charlotte and a 30th veteran of WWII, was there to speak to Trump and urge him to award the 30th the Presidential Unit Citation.
The request paperwork is in the White House for review, however no news of approval of a Presidential Unit Citation for the 30th Infantry Division has been announced.