On June 6, 1944, roughly 2,000 African American troops are believed to have hit the shores of Normandy.
Serving in a US military still-segregated by race, they encountered discrimination both in the service and when they came home.
The only African American combat unit on D-Day was the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, responsible for setting up explosive-rigged balloons to deter German planes. (2/6)
99-year-old Johnnie Jones Sr., who joined the military in 1943 out of Southern University in Baton Rouge, was a warrant officer in a unit responsible for unloading equipment and supplies onto Normandy. He remembers wading ashore and coming under fire from a German sniper. (3/6)
In another incident, he remembers a soldier charging a pillbox, a selfless act that likely ended the soldier’s life. “I know he didn’t come back home. He didn’t come back home but he saved me and he saved many others.” (4/6)
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