18 November, 2017

Goss, Don

Service: ArmyUnit: 29th Infantry Division

Tonight I would like to tell you about a brave Army infantryman named Don Goss. Don was in the 29th Infantry Division. Some of you may know that the 1st and 29th Inf. Div. were the two Army Inf. Divisions that were assigned the horrible job of taking Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944, better known as D-Day.

What did Don Goss experience that day? Here is what another Navy Veteran named Harold Beal had to say about the Omaha Beach landing. Mr Beal was on Omaha Beach that morning for about 12 hrs. because he lost two landing craft, one with the loss of all the Army troops on his Higgins boat. That loss would have constituted about 30 men. The young soldiers drown because of the heavy packs they were wearing. The four sailors survived because they had no weight on them and bobbed right back to the surface. To this day Harold breaks down emotionally when he talks about D-Day. I have never thought that many Hollywood movies about WW II were very accurate, but Harold told me in a March 2011 interview that the movie Saving Private Ryan was so accurate about the carnage that it took him a week to watch the opening ten minutes because it is so accurate. So, if you want to see what the Greatest Generation went through for YOU AND ME, watch that movie! I watched it a couple of years before I met Mr. Beal and I also had great difficulty watching it because of the horrors that these men faced.

Before the first interview started, Don’s wife Jan who was setting just off camera and has been with Don since 1943 was told by Don that she was going to hear some things that she had never heard before. I interviewed Don twice for this important piece of history. The reason was because Don broke down sobbing in 2007 when he started thinking what he and so many men went through that day in 1944. What bothered him so badly was remembering running over the bodies of the men that had landed at 6:30 AM, just three hours before his landing. I turned to Jan and asked if I should turn the camera off because Don was sobbing so badly. She said NO because Don needed to talk and get some of these feelings and thoughts out of him.
When we were finished with the interview I asked Don if he would do one of my Larry Martin’s World War II In Their Own Words and I was told a very firm NO. I thanked Don for his service and the interview; after that I left.The next year Don and his wife Jan attended another one of my Larry Martin’s World War II In Their Own Words programs where he stood up in front of about 130 people and spoke for about one minute. When the program was finished I asked him if he would do a complete program where he would do a Q & A. He said he might. The next year he put on a program in front of over 130 people; and though his eyes reddened up, he did well. His wife and him both say that doing the two interviews with me and him putting on a program have helped him get some of the bad things out of his system.
DON WAS SHOT THRU THE JAW BY A GERMAN SNIPER ABOUT TWO WEEKS AFTER THE LANDING ON D-DAY. HE SPENT THE NEXT 19 MONTHS IN AND OUT OF VETERANS HOSPITALS. IF THE BULLET HAD BEEN TWO INCHES HIGHER OR LOWER IN THE NECK, WE WOULD HAVE LOST A VERY FINE MAN. MR DON GOSS.


Don’s handwriting from the back of the photo shown above

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