Omaha Beach legend Ray Lambert's unforgettable firsthand account of D-Day
“Lambert landed on [Omaha Beach] as a 23-year-old Army medic. ... As the bullets cut down his comrades, he raced repeatedly back into the sea to drag out wounded soldiers.” —New York Times
Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now D-Day legend Ray Lambert (1920-2021) delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of Normandy.
At five a.m. on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert worked his way through a throng of nervous soldiers to a wind-swept deck on a troopship off the coast of Normandy, France. A familiar voice cut through the wind and rumble of the ship’s engines. “Ray!” called his brother, Bill. Ray, head of a medical team for the First Division’s famed 16th Infantry Regiment, had already won a silver star in 1943 for running through German lines to rescue trapped men, one of countless rescues he’d made in North Africa and Sicily.
“This is going to be the worst yet,” Ray told his brother, who served alongside him throughout the war.
“If I don’t make it,” said Bill, “take care of my family.”
“I will,” said Ray. He thought about his wife and son–a boy he had yet to see. “Same for me.” The words were barely out of Ray’s mouth when a shout came from below.
To the landing craft!
The brothers parted. Their destinies lay ten miles away, on the bloodiest shore of Normandy, a plot of Omaha Beach ironically code named “Easy Red.”
Less than five hours later, after saving dozens of lives and being wounded at least three separate times, Ray would lose consciousness in the shallow water of the beach under heavy fire. He would wake on the deck of a landing ship to find his battered brother clinging to life next to him.
Every Man a Hero is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.
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About the Author
Jim DeFelice is the co-author, with former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, of the multi-million-copy bestseller American Sniper, the source for Clint Eastwood’s film starring Bradley Cooper. His other books include Omar Bradley: General at War; Rangers at Dieppe; and West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express. He lives in upstate New York.
Table of Contents
List of Maps xi
Introduction: O-Hour+15 Jim DeFelice xxiii
Prologue Why We Remember 1
1 Early Days 5
2 Echoes of War 17
3 Infamy and England 39
4 Lighting the Torch 53
5 My Life in My Hands 83
6 Husky 101
7 (Some) Rest for the Weary 135
8 A Mighty Endeavor 155
9 Beyond Despair 181
10 Deliverance 189
11 Breakout 201
12 The Rewards of Peace 225
13 Legacy 235
Collaborator's Note: Bringing Ray's Story to the Page Jim DeFelice 239
Appendix A The Combat Medics of World War II 245
Appendix B Battle Fatigue, Psychoneurosis, and PTSD in World War II 251
Appendix C Further Reading 255
Notes and Sources 259