GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Friday marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history, and the turning point in World War II. News 12 spoke with a Grayson County resident who is a surviving World War II veteran and played a role in liberating Europe from Nazi, Germany.
On June 6, 1944 more than 150,000 allied troops stormed the shores of Normandy, France to bring an end to Adolf Hitler's grip on Europe. Major David Williams was only 21 when he flew cover for U.S. forces as a First Lieutenant.
"We were flying about 2,000 feet over the channel in P-38's. The reason we were flying over that is the Navy gunners would recognize us and shoot us down, and we covered the invasion forces as they left England all the way to the beaches of Normandy," Williams said.
What Williams saw from above is forever etched in his memory.
"The battleships bombarding the beaches ahead of the landing troops and it was full of ships especially landing ships that were hitting the beaches and soldiers getting off and fighting the Germans," Williams said.
More 4,400 allied troops were killed the first day, but Williams and his fire group had to gather the strength to stay focused on the task at hand, protecting his comrades on the front lines.
"Most of my missions had been covering the bombers over Germany. We were fighters and we protected them from the enemy fighters," Williams said.
Today Williams is remembering the brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and those he flew beside on that day that changed the course of history.
Williams retired from the air force in 19-63 as Base Operations Officer of the Perrin Air Force Base. You will still find him there as a volunteer at the museum.