On June 6, 1944, Allied Forces launched the largest amphibious assault in history against Nazi-occupied Europe. In this episode, Rip Bounds of Hattiesburg describes piloting a Utility Landing Ship to the beaches of Normandy.
As Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, they faced devastating fire-power from the Germans. Bounds recalls how the eighty-eight millimeter artillery shells decimated both men and equipment.
Thousands of American soldiers were wounded or killed as they stormed the beaches on D-Day 1944. Bounds remembers how they bravely worked to save wounded troops from the rising tide. In the weeks that followed D-Day, Bounds and his crew ferried wounded soldiers to awaiting hospital ships for treatment. He recounts how Red Cross workers attempted to give aid and comfort to these men as they lay on the deck of his ship.
WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF WAR AND CARNAGE.
PHOTO: USA Today
After serving in the South Pacific for eighteen months during WWII, Rip Bounds became a naval officer. In this episode, he recalls being sworn-in and attending officer indoctrination schools in Arizona and New York. While at officer training school, Bounds was made platoon leader of a group of former Seabees. He explains why his men resented being treated as new recruits and how an act of insubordination led to a policy change.
As Allied Forces prepared for the invasion of Europe, Bounds was made captain of a Utility Landing Ship. He remembers crossing the Atlantic as German U-Boats attacked their convoy of ships, nightly.
In the weeks leading up to D-Day, Allied Forces performed mock invasions along the coast of England. Bounds describes the day their practice drill turned out to be the real thing.
The United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees, were formed during WWII to build airstrips and other installations vital to the war effort. In this episode, the first of two parts, Rip Bounds of Hattiesburg remembers his decision to join the Seabees in 1942.
After the United States declared war on Japan, the Seabees rushed to build airfields on small islands in the Pacific. Bounds recalls how they built a landing strip in the jungles of Espiritu Santo in just fourteen days. As a Transportation Pool Dispatcher for the Seabees, Bounds oversaw all motor vehicles for their naval base. He discusses using his position to get ice cream and other perks for his men.
Thanks to his hard work, Bounds was soon promoted to Petty Officer First Class. He remembers how an investigation into the disappearance of eighty-seven cases of liquor was dropped after several boxes of the missing booze found their way to the commander’s quarters.
Part Two, where Bounds discusses piloting a Utility Landing Ship during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, will be released in two weeks.