Voices from the war
A point made by both D-Day veterans and historians is that D-Day was the beginning of a long and difficult struggle, whose end was nowhere in sight on the day the invasion began. McCalment recalled the Augusta providing fire support for General George Patton himself a few weeks later, when Patton needed help with some German tanks.
91-year-old Robert Levine of Teaneck, New Jersey was 19 when he came ashore on Utah Beach. On the far side of Hill 122, retreating Germans ambushed his unit, filled his leg with shrapnel from a grenade, and took him prisoner. Then he got hit by shrapnel from the very same American mortar shells he had been delivering to forward positions at the time of his capture.
He woke up on the kitchen table of a French farmhouse that had been pressed into service as a German field hospital.
“For you, the war is over,” said a German military doctor, as he prepared to amputate Levine’s leg. Then the doctor noticed the letter “H” stamped on the prisoner’s dog tags… identifying him as Hebrew.
"I had just turned 19, and I thought that was the end for me. I was never going to see my 20th birthday, I knew it,” he recalled.
To his astonishment, he woke up in an improvised recovery room, without his injured leg – or his dog tags. The German doctor hid the tags to conceal Levine’s identity.
“That’s the second way he saved my life,” Levine said.