At the age of 100, Doc Schaeferle raised the flag at the Veterans Memorial Park Monday morning to honor all those who sacrificed their lives for freedom. At the age of 32, Doc landed at Easy Red on Omaha Beach on D Day June 6, 1944 during the 2nd hour of the World War II invasion. Before the beach at Normandy was secured, 175,000 Allied troops would attack Hitler’s ‘Fortress Europe’. Approximately 2,499 servicemen were killed on D-Day or shortly thereafter. In addition, 6,603 were wounded in the invasion. Doc served with the 32nd Field Artillery Battalion attached to the 1st Infantry Division – “The Big Red One”. His battalion commander was the 1st to drive off the ship’s ramp in his staff car into 14’ of water. The 2nd attempt was successful. Doc said a German tank was sitting on a hill overlooking Omaha Beach, its gun was pointed right at us. Doc found himself a 3 foot trench on the beach dug by Germans before the Americans arrived. It provided him protective cover from enemy fire while treating wounded soldiers. His job was to operate a frontline aid station. While the war went on around him on Omaha Beach, he worked on the wounded. After the Americans drove the Germans off of the beaches all the way back to Germany, it was during that time that Doc set up many aid stations behind the front lines. Doc enlisted on May 14, 1941 and was discharged December 13, 1945.
Doc Schaeferle, 100 years young, center, raises the American Flag at the Memorial Day Services held at the All Veteran’s Memorial on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012. Legion members Terry Schmitz (left) and Dick Denbow (right) are Dr. Schaeferle’s escorts.
Photo by Betty Dahms