TEMPE, Ariz. — It was 70 years ago Friday that American soldiers landed in France on D-Day. A survivor of that invasion told his story today to a group of people at University of Phoenix offices in Tempe.
George Pillman was a young Navy Lieutenant on D-Day. He steered a landing craft filled with soldiers toward Omaha Beach that day. He said that the soldiers were confident heading into the assault.
“It was not like we were going in there with the idea that we were going to get killed or something,” he said. “We went in with idea that we’re going to do our job and make the ship perform according to what was expected from us.”
Pillman’s job was to drop Army soldiers off on the beach, then steer the boat to an area off shore. None of his crew members were killed.
“That’s one thing that I was proud of,” he said, “that we were able to do what we did and not have any serious problems.”
Realizing that thousands of soldiers died during the D-Day invasion, Pillman made a promise to honor them. Pillman now talks about D-Day at schools and civic organizations.
“A lot of guys didn’t make it,” Pillman said. “I should live my life according to what they would be proud of. I should try to help the country preserve the way of life that they expect, and that they died for.”