COLUMBUS 1st Div MOGLIA, John Julius O 6
2nd Bn 16th Inf. Easy Red On Beach DUKW
Dragged men across beach to safe place, thinking he was wounded---then discovered he [crossed out]he[end crossed out] was dead -- [crossed out]only[end crossed out] half his head had been shot away.
[*D - E Columbus, Ohio 6/28 - 7/13 Ky. 7/24 - 8/10 -- Ky. Married Eng. girl? O-6 LL*]
For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-Day
THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.
What is your full name? John Julius Moglia
What was your unit and division? Anti-Tank Platoon, 2d Bn. 16th Infantry, 1st Division. (Big Red One)
Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Omaha Easy Red Beach at approximately dawn. Had been rondevousing for about 2 hours in a DUK.
What was your rank on June 6, 1944? S/Sgt.
What was your age on June 6, 1944? 28
Were you married at that time? Yes. Married 27 Jan. 1944 at Salisbury , England. Lilian (Jill) Deane.
What is your wife's name? Lilian (Jill)
Did you have any children at that time? No
What do you do now? Advisor to the U.S. Army Reserve located at The Columbus Area Command, Fort Hayes, Columbus 18, Ohio.
When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? About Two or three days prior.
What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time?
Water extremely dark and rough- stormy. Checked individuals and equipment. Tried to sleep. Being my third invasion with the 16th Inf. ,I wasn't too excited, perhaps a bit depressed and wondering whent the war w ould end and how many of us would be around when it did. Our original numbers were steadily growing smaller. New members occupied thier time by sharpening trench knives, bayonets, throwing hatchets, etc. The old pros kidded them and told them that those sharp objects would be excellent for opening C rations. All personnel prayed in their way.
What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in). No rumors that I can remember. We were convinced that we would smash the Germans once and for all.
- for Cornelius Ryan 2. - Your name Capt. John J. Moglia
Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No
Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Yes
Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? Some were convinced that they c ould not possibly make it. Law of averages would catch up with them. One friend offered me two cigars to be smoked after beach-head was es tablished. I t old him t o keep one and we would smoke them together. He stated that he would not be ar ound at that time and asked me to smoke his for him- I did.
Were you wounded? Not a t this time.
Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing?
Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time?
A negro soldier rushing about the beach and shouting "Lord, w hat am I doing here? I'm not a fighter, get me out of here! Man OH Man I'll never do another bad thing as long a s I live; if You will just get me out of here and let me live". A group of men struggling to get a small type tractor free from the mud and after succeeding in freeing the vehicle, it received a direct hit by an artillery or mortar r ound, completely demolishing it. It is rather difficult to describe the expressions on their faces- sort of a combination of disgust, fright, de spair, and "To hell with it! A soldier whose canteen had been pierced by shrapnell, feeling the water running d own his leggs, exclaiming that his lifes blood was flowing away and he was plea ding for someone to apply a t ornequet t o his "wounds"
Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else?
I dragged a man accross a portion of the beach thinking that he was wounded and after getting him to a more safe spot, discovered that he was beyond help since half of his head was blown away. Wounded soldiers drowning in the channel- The sudden hate and desire to kill that was instilled into the youngsters who were getting their first taste of battle. The amount of firepower that the Germans had placed on our troops still remains in my memory. It's still hard to beleive that we were able fight through it.
- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Capt John J. Moglia
In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either?
Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Aboard ship on the English Channel.
Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? Forward of Omaha Easy Red Beach in Normandy France.
Do you know of anybody else who landed within those 24 hours (midnight June 5 to midnight June 6) as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to?
[*LL*] I know of several but they are widely scattered at this time. I su gest contact be made with the First Division Soc iety and the various units of the First Division now stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. Master Sgt. The od ore L. Dobol the Sgt, Major of the Ist Battle Group, 26th Infantry, Fort Riley, Kansas would be an excellent source of information. [*--Do we have him? Please check.]
I will be at Camp Breckinridge, Ky from 28 June till 13 July with the 332d Infantry of the 83d Division.
From 24 July until 10 August I shall be inspecting units of the National Guard Tank Battalions at Fort Knox, Ky. [*John J Moglia Capt Inf*]
PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "'WHERE THEY ARE NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest
[*CAPT. JOHN J. MOGLIA*] Columbus Area Command USAR Advisory Group Fort Hayes Columbus 18, Ohio 25 April 1958
Miss Frances Ward Readers Digest 230 Park Ave New York, N.Y.
Dear Miss Ward;
I have been informed that Mr. Cornelius Ryan plans to write a history of the "D" Day landings in Normandy and would like comments from personnel who participated in this engagement. I was a member of the second battalion of the 16th Infantry and was a section sergeant in the anti-tank platoon. I also made the landing at Arzew Beach in North Africa and the one at Gela, Sicily. I attended the 10th anniversary celebration at Omaha Easy Red beach in Normandy and the following year participated in the 1st. Division ceremonies at the beach- head site and cemetary. I recently completed a three and one half year tour with the 26th Infantry of the First Division, leaving the division in January 1957 to attend the Officers' Advance course at Fort Benning, Georgia.
If I may, I would like to recommend as a source of information, M/Sgt Theodore L. Dobol, The Sergeant Major of the 1st Battle Group, 26th Infantry at Fort Riley, Kansas. Sgt. Dobol has some 18 years of continuos service with the 26th Infantry and has an outstanding record as a soldier. I am certain that Sgt. Dobol can provide much information pertaining to the Big Red One. Hoping that I may be of some assitance, I remain,
[*John J Moglia*] JOHN J. MOGLIA Capt. Inf.