Donald McKeen Smith

American Coast Guard, Utah Beach D-day

The Coast Guard flotilla of 60 boats rescued over 1500 men on D-day alone. The night of the 6th we circled in the same area off UTAH BEACH from dusk to dawn on the 7th, continuing our search. Those rescued were taken to hospital ships or other ships that could handle casualties. On the afternoon of the 7th we returned to Poole because of very rough seas we couldnít refuel. We made two more trips to the beaches working at UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, and SWORD. On the 18th of June a storm hit OMAHA BEACH and wrecked the artificial harbour that had been constructed there to serve as a port. Our boat was rammed and damaged by a drifting LCT. Both vessels were forced onto OMAHA BEACH quite close to one of the main exits off the beach and our boat remained there for five days. We scrounged around for something to cover the hole in the boat, and a group of army engineers managed to have a plywood patch placed over the hole in our port side. The first few days, we slept in foxholes. There was no incoming enemy fire. The beach was secure. With the help of a warping tug off shore and two bulldozers, the engineers were able to get us re-floated. A sister boat towed us to Poole (our home base) and we were placed in a shipyard for repairs. Because of lengthy repair time I was relieved and transferred to a LCI based at Weymouth, UK. The LCI made trips to UTAH BEACH including one that we transported a field hospital group of 80 people, one trip to Gold beach transporting 60 British infantry and finally to Cherbourg after that major French port was opened. My LCI left Dartmouth, England in mid September with 19 other LCIís and 24 LSTís in convoy for the USA I served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 4 years. (September 13, 1941- September 13, 1945) I was promoted to Boatswain Mate First Class in September of 1944 while serving on the LCI.    Donald McKeen Smith Born 9/13/20

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