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3AD Landing in Normandy in June, 1944
Photos from Al Golisano, 36th Inf, WWII


  Read below about how these photos were found ... thanks to an old friendship between WWII Spearheaders below: Al Golisano (left) and Robert Vincent Hiatt, pictured here in England in 1943.


The Story Behind the Photos:

You can search Spearhead in the West, or the 3AD Illinois Archives, or even the National Archives and you will find no more than several photos of the 3AD's arrival in France on Omaha Beach on June 23 & 24, 1944. But none are more dramatic than the never-before-published "amateur" shots that came to us in February, 2006, from Al Golisano of Long Island, NY, a WWII veteran of 3AD's 36th Infantry Regiment (AIR).

In this section we are including the "top five" of Al's photo collection from that Normandy landing, plus a group photo of the survivors of his unit - "I" Company, 3rd Bn, 36th Inf - taken several weeks after Germany's surrender. They are pictured rested and all cleaned up in the town of Offenbach, Germany, southeast of Frankfurt, where they had started occupation duty. Of "I "Company's original stateside training group of about 200 soldiers, these 32 men were the only ones not killed or incapacitated during nine months of combat.

Foe reasons of security, the unauthorized use of cameras by U.S. troops landing in Normandy was forbidden, that is, for those who got the word. Cpl. Al Golisano and a buddy, each with a camera, snapped more than a few, as elements of the 36th Inf and 32nd Armor Regiments came ashore in several LST's and prepared to move inland for their first action against the Germans.

Al believes that the films were not developed until right after the war, at which point he and his buddy had copies made and shared their photos. The name of that buddy, he regrets, he cannot remember, nor is Al sure of which of them took which photo; therefore the credit will go to both men.

Now "flash forward" over sixty years to January, 2006, when John Hiatt, age 25, of Kansas City, MO, the grandson of 3rd Armored veteran Robert Vincent Hiatt, e-mailed our Web Staff a research paper he had written about his grandfather's WWII experiences. Robert, also known as "Vince," had passed away in 1993. A Kansas City native, he had been another "I" Company buddy of Al's, and, in the course of his research, John had interviewed Al by phone and happened to borrow several of his photos for the project.

Needless to say, those few photos, or their e-mail print-outs that arrived with John's paper, set off alarm bells here at the Web Site "HQ", which happens when really special 3AD photos appear. Al was subsequently contacted directly at his home in Ridge, NY, and happily obliged by sending us the original photos for scanning and, finally, for posting for everyone to see.

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