Hometown Heroes

Paratroopers Recall D-Day

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LISTEN to D-Day Paratroopers on Hometown Heroes
The June 7, 2014 edition off Hometown Heroes (episode #318) follows the 70th anniversary of D-Day by shedding some light on that historic day through the eyes of two paratroopers who jumped behind enemy lines on June 6, 1944. More than 13,000 American paratroopers made the D-Day jump, and two who jumped with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were Bob Chisolm and Angel Romero.

Bob Chisolm (left) and Angel Romero referred to each other as "brothers."

Bob Chisolm (left) and Angel Romero referred to each other as “brothers.”


Bob Chisolm as a WWII Paratrooper

You’ll hear first from Chisolm, who enlisted at the age of 17, made his first combat jump on D-Day, and ended up serving for nearly 30 years. Chisolm has the rare distinction of wearing the “Triple CIB,” having earned the Combat Infantry Badge in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In 2013, Chisolm was chosen from among 40,000 paratrooper veterans as the “All-American of the Year.” You’ll hear Chisolm credit the training the paratroopers received as being crucial to their survival.


Angel Romero as a WWII Paratrooper




In particular, he singles out Colonel Louis G. Mendez for the impact he had on Chisolm and other young troopers.You’ll hear Bob describe the events of D-Day, how he improvised after landing behind enemy lines, and how he eventually connected with fellow members of the 508th. He also shares how he was wounded a few weeks later, on his 19th birthday. It wasn’t the first time he was wounded, a distinction he shares with the man he referred to as his brother, Angel Romero.

Romero passed away at the age of 87 in October, 2012, just a few months after conducting the interview you’ll hear on Hometown Heroes. He recalled his childhood in El Paso, being one of five brothers who all served in World War II, and the multiple times he was wounded while fighting with the 508th PIR. He didn’t receive his Purple Heart until 2010.

The day I was privileged to meet (L-R) Arthur Johnson, "Beamy" Beamesderfer, Angel Romero, and Bob Chisolm at Partida Hall in El Paso

The day I was privileged to meet (L-R) Arthur Johnson, “Beamy” Beamesderfer, Angel Romero, and Bob Chisolm at the Benavidez-Patterson All-Airborne Chapter’s Partida Hall in El Paso

The interviews you hear with Chisolm and Romero came from a day in 2012 in which I had the privilege of meeting four different paratroopers who had jumped on D-Day. You can listen to those original interviews here:

Episode #213 5/26/2012 featuring Chisolm and 101st Airborne veteran Arthur Johnson

Episode #215 6/2/2012 featuring Romero and pathfinder Maynard “Beamy” Beamesderfer

To learn more about D-Day, from paratroopers to all the different elements that made that historic day a success, however costly, check out the military’s official D-Day page.
If you’re up for another interview with a paratrooper who jumped on D-Day, try this one:

Episode #217 6/16/2012 featuring Robert Barney from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment.

It’s always difficult to imagine myself in the shoes of the veterans who appear on Hometown Heroes. When it comes to parachuting out of a moving plane in the dark of night, behind enemy lines, with no inkling of what might be waiting down below, it’s almost impossible to fathom. The courage these men possess is incalculable.
Paul Loeffler

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