|Birth: ||Apr. 9, 1919|
|Death: ||Jun. 6, 1944|
LT Joe Gregory from C Company, 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, was Officer—in—Charge of Boat Crew #10, to which was assigned Ensign Lawrence Karnowski's NCDU—45. They made the crossing on LCT(A) 2425, with its 3 Sherman tanks. Like other men preparing to land on Omaha Beach, they were encouraged by the massive pre—assault bombardment. Then it was time to go. Two miles off Easy Red Beach sector Boat Team #10 boarded their 50' LCM in foggy conditions at 2:30 a.m. for the run ashore. During the boat transfer, Ens. Karnowski lost his helmet. He would go through D—Day bareheaded. Motor churning and fog rising, Easy Red was sighted in faint outline at 6:10 a.m. Fifteen minutes later they were on the beach. Ens. Karnowski's war diary tells the rest:
'LT Gregory and his men pulled off their rubber boat, let it go, then headed for the dune line and their obstacles. We disembarked as two 88mm. shells dropped near our LCM and got busy tying charges to our assigned obstacles. Two of my men tied the rubber boat with our demolitions to a piling. The first (detonation) shot, fired at 0650 hrs., went magnificently; smoke billowed and the obstacles were blown to bits. Machine gun fire erupted immediately, keeping us on our bellies. My top man Chief Conrad Millis couldn't resign himself to crawling; too slow for him. So he took off running with a roll of primacord and quickly placed several more charges, but machine gun fire cut him down. He was the only man I lost that day, the best one I had. It took a lot longer to prepare and detonate the second shot because the tide was coming in fast, and infantry, 10 minutes behind schedule, were filtering through us. I just had enough time, as our danger flare went up, to grab a soldier from behind one of the charged pilings before our second shot went off at 0705 hrs. During this time Gunner's Mate Bob Svendsen carried wounded fellow Gunner's Mate Gale Fant all the way to the dune line with machine gun fire chasing him the whole way.
'Now in water up to our knees, we were almost to where LT Gregory and his men had started. They'd done a great job, clearing the entire 50 yd. wide gap. Several pilings remained between our two sectors and LT Gregory insisted on getting them. A tall man, he waded and swam to each piling as we threw the charges to him. Triggering each one separately, he destroyed all three. Jerry shellfire was now really pouring in. Coming in on the almost high tide were bodies. Jeeps, tanks and small boats were piling up on the beach. Three LCIs (Landing Craft Infantry) spotted our gap and came on in. While they unloaded, we loaded out our wounded. (By this time Millis had been lost and 5 others from NCDU—45 wounded) The situation became worse as we lay behind the dunes.
Then one of the soldiers spotted a Jerry to our front on a footpath and took off after him. His fellow infantrymen followed. LT Gregory and I rounded up our remaining men and sent them ahead to the hillside for protection. An emergency first—aid station had been set up near the path and wounded were being treated. We were nearing it when a large shell scored a direct hit. Gregory, 5' in front of me, was hit badly in the stomach and legs. I rolled him over to attend to his wounds. He kept saying he wouldn't recover. We talked about the beach job. He was happy that we had completed our assignment. Then he collapsed and died.'
For their selfless valor and extraordinary heroism on Bloody Omaha, LT Ross and Ens. Karnowski were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. LT Joe Gregory was awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.
Jasper J Gregory (1893 - 1964)
Agnes Rosetta Eager Gregory (1892 - 1968)
Elko City Cemetery
Maintained by: Ted and Kathleen (Hulet)...
Originally Created by: Joe Gibbens
Record added: Jul 29, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40021130
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