Wednesday, January 5, 2011

African-American Army Port Company Article in WWII Stars and Stripes

(click article image to enlarge)

519th Port Battalion veteran Dave Weaver saved a May 20, 1944 article clipping from The Stars and Stripes. It describes the scene in an unnamed British port and the African-American port company that worked there. The unit and place were kept secret to protect the Normandy invasion plans, but I recently discovered these hidden facts. I've been talking with Charles Sprowl, a veteran of the 490th Port Battalion. It was his own 229th Port Company working in Bristol, England. In the second to last paragraph a 1st Sgt. James W. Wanza was quoted. When I shared a copy of this article with Charles he recognized his sergeant's name immediately.

I have been speaking with Charles, James Baker (another black port battalion veteran), and other port battalion vets from Omaha Beach. My plan is to write a magazine article about the supply work at both of the American-controlled beaches in Normandy.

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