75th Anniversary of D-Day- Trip of Honor
Dr. Lauren Wooten, a family practice physician at Freeport Family Health Center, volunteered to accompany 14 WWII veterans to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
One of the veterans on the trip is her 102-year-old grandfather, Major Wooten. He was in the Army in WWII and touched down on Utah Beach.
“Ohio Hills Health Services is extremely proud of Dr. Wooten for wanting to share this momentous occasion with her grandfather and the other veterans,” said Jeff Britton, CEO of Ohio Hills Health Services. “The veteran’s range in age from 93-102. Due to their advanced age, Forever Young Senior Veterans, who is sponsoring the trip, was pleased to have a physician participate.”
Forever Young Senior Veterans’ mission is to work to end the silent suffering of military veterans 65 years and older by granting their unfulfilled dreams, returning them to the places where they fought, and giving them the honor, healing, and hope they need and deserve. When the veterans return to the beaches of Normandy they discover it’s now a beautiful land, the people are free, and the people show their gratitude to the returning soldiers.
Dr. Wooten’s grandfather discovered Forever Young Senior Veterans when a person in his church invited him to a Forever Young meeting. This group is now a huge part of his life, where he has formed friendships and received support.
As veteran numbers diminish and with D-day poised to pass from living memory into history, the 75th anniversary is likely to be the last big official commemoration of the largest ever amphibious assault, which led to the liberation of Europe. Hundreds of veterans, now in their tenth decades, are expected to travel for ceremonies on June 6th.
“I learned about this trip because of my grandfather, Major Wooten. Major actually is his first name and he likes to tell people that Major is his name, not his rank,” said Dr. Lauren Wooten. “My grandfather has really benefited from being involved with the Forever Young Senior Veterans group, it has helped him physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am looking forward to sharing this incredible experience with him and the other veterans.”
Dr. Wooten has been with Ohio Hills Health Services since September 2016. The trip is scheduled from June 2-10, 2019.
Veterans who Dr. Wooten
1. Sherwin Callander, 99, US Navy, He was on his way to Pearl Harbor from Midway/Wake Island when the Japanese attacked. His ship, the USS Wright, was passed by a Japanese carrier, which they didn’t realize was part of the attack.They arrived the next day and helped pull the dead from the water. On June 6,1944, he was one of the first ones in at Utah Beach taking troops to the shore. Recipient of the French Legion of Honor Medal – Lives in Madison, Alabama.
2. Jack Claiborne, 95, Drove the troops to Omaha Beach on LCI 492. Helmsman and gunner – Lives in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
3. Stan Friday, 96, 80th Inf. Div. Army Scout. He fought through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria. Bronze Star. He undertook many night missions. Utah Beach, – Lives in Pennsborg, Pennsylvania,
4. Harold Himmelsbach, 93, 9th Air Force, He served in the 123rd Quartermaster Truck Company Aviation. After the invasion, he was assigned to the 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Div – Lives in El Dorado Hills, California.
5. Harold Jalowsky, 93, 9th Inf. Div. Rifleman,Severely wounded in the Battle of St. Lo, and spent 2 1/2 years recovering in hospitals from wounds. Purple Heart/Bronze Star, Originally from North New Jersey – Lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
6. Loren Kissick, 94, 83rd Inf. Div., 483rd Automatic Weapon Battalion, machine gunner/ half track – Lives in Puyallup, Washington.
7. Harold McMurran, 94, Utah Beach, 546th Ord. FA, Instrument Fire Control Repairman, mostly infantry. June 6, 1944, Utah Beach, Fought through France and the Battle of the Bulge, Recipient of the French Legion of Honor Medal – Lives in New Market, Alabama.
8. George Mills, 97, 28th Inf. Div., POW, captured in Fuhrn, Luxembourg. Fought through France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Purple Heart, Recipient of the French Legion of Honor Medal – Lives in Decatur, Alabama.
9. Irvin “Buck” Price, 94, US Navy, LCT 285, D-Day, June 6, 1944, Recipient of the French Legion of Honor Medal – Lives in Tarboro, North Carolina.
10. K.T. Robbins, 97, 95th Quartermaster Bakery Battalion, Iceland, France, and Belgium, trained as Infantry but baked bread for troops, overseas for 5 years – Lives in Olive Branch, Minnesota
11.Vincent Unger, 96, U.S. Navy Amphibs, LCI 525, carried 4th Inf. Div. infantry to Utah Beach, among the first ones in. – Lives in Orlando, Florida.
12. Major Wooten, 102,U.S. Army, 764th Railway Shop Battalion, serviced trains for medical and equipment transport, Utah Beach – Lives in Madison, Alabama
13. James Young, 93, 2nd Infantry Division, Gunner and Squad leader, Normandy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Rhine River Crossing, and Germany – Lives in Arlington, Tennessee
14. OnofrioZicari, 97,5th Amphibious Brigade, 5th Wave on D-Day, Fought through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Rhine River Crossing, and Germany – Lives in Las Vegas, Nevada