Bill Sisk Recalls Landing on Utah Beach on D-Day
Lynchburg, VA - D-Day Veteran Bill Sisk returned to Normandy this week, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the day he landed on Utah Beach. ABC 13 is with Sisk in France.
Angela Hatcher interviewed Sisk before he left. This is an account of his experience on D-Day.
Bill Sisk turned 19 in Normandy, three days after D-Day, in the fight of his young life.
"Being a teenager, I was with the best bunch of men you'd ever seen in your life," said Sisk. "All I did was follow orders, so I didn't know. I couldn't pronounce a French name or town, but all I did was just follow."
Sisk left high school for basic training in 1943. He was supposed to be at Ft. Bragg for 17 weeks.
"They cut that down to nine weeks and we shipped out to England," said Sisk.
There, they would train for the mission that would be the turning point of World War II. It was called Operation Overlord.
"We'd go out every day and we'd come back, make practice landings. One day in June we went out and didn't come back. We kept going," said Sisk. "We knew we were doing something, we just didn't know what to expect."
"We looked around and we saw ships after ships after ships all over the place, landing crafts all over the place. Then we looked up and the sky was full of planes," said Sisk. "So we knew something was going on, but we didn't know what was going on. We were completely in the dark."
Sisk landed with the 90th Division on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944.
"We came in that afternoon. The only thing I saw when we landed was there were a lot of prisoners of war, Germans had been taken," said Sisk. "There were a few bodies on the beach, but it had been cleaned up pretty well before we hit the beach. We had no opposition like they had at Omaha."
Sisk trained in radio operations during those few weeks at Ft. Bragg.
"It was a big radio you hook on the back of your back. The antenna stuck way up in the air. I got beside a man over there, got beside him and he told me to move in unfriendly terms. We didn't know each other and he said get away from me. He said that radio will get me killed," said Sisk. "So I was all by myself. Everywhere I went that antenna was sticking up in the sky. He said anywhere you go the Germans know you're there. So I don't want to be around you."
Sisk would stick with the lieutenant he was assigned with.
"We didn't get through Normandy until about, I guess it was late July or August before we'd make the breakout and invade Paris, France," said Sisk.
After D-Day, Sisk continued fighting his way through France with the 90th Division.