"A Helping Hand" photo autographed by D-Day paratroopers
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Famed 101st Airborne paratrooper, Lt. Col. Robert Wolverton (C.O., 3rd Bn., 506th PIR), helps his battalion surgeon, Capt. Stanley Morgan, suit-up for D-Day. Morgan would survive, whereas Wolverton would make the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day.
This photo is autographed in black marker by 101st Airborne D-Day paratroopers Brad Freeman and Bob Noody. The photo features an exclusively designed vintage motif.
Shipping added in checkout // photo size: 8" x 10" // ships flat in a heavy-duty envelope
Bradford Freeman was born and raised in the lush Mississippi farmlands of Lowndes County, near Columbus. He was one of 8 children, 3 of whom fought in the war. After high school graduation he enrolled in Mississippi State University, which he attended for one semester before enlisting in the US Army on December 12, 1942.
He joined the paratroopers, following in the footsteps of his older brother, who became an officer in the 11th Airborne. Freeman was assigned to the 506th PIR., 101st Airborne at Alderbourne, England in February 1944. There, he trained under the watchful eye of mortar squad leader Don Malarkey and platoon leader Bill Guarnere, both of whom he describes as great fighting men.
On D-Day Freeman parachuted into Normandy in Malarkey’s stick, forming up and fighting with Sgt. Chuck Grant until they joined the company near Brecourt Manor. Freeman vividly remembers the fierce fighting at Carentan, where he feels E-Company came together as a combat unit.
Freeman participated in the invasion of Holland, and recalls endless patrols and “scary” night outpost duty on the banks of the Rhine. Following Market Garden Freeman survived the brutal weather and constant shelling in the Bois Jacques woods at Bastogne only to be wounded by a “screaming mimi” (Nebelwerfer rocket) in Easy Company’s attack on Foy. Following release from a hospital in England, Freeman joined up with HQ Staff in Berchtesgaden in April 1945, and later with his E-Company comrades in Kaprun, Austria.
After the war Brad Freeman went back to Mississippi State University for a semester, and then returned to help run a 197 acre family farm in Lowndes County. He later worked with the US Postal Service, retiring after 32 years of service.
Bob Noody joined the Army in February 1943, shortly after his 18th birthday. He volunteered for the paratroopers, not knowing what that was about, except that it meant an additional $50 per month. His arrival at Ft. Benning was an eye-opener, yet he survived the “brutal training.” He joined Fox Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne at Aldbourne, England, just in time for the Normandy invasion.
On the evening of June 5, 1944, at Upottery Airfield, Noody was immortalized in a photo taken of him aboard his C-47 immediately before takeoff. The photo was first published on the cover of an Army Air Forces magazine and it took on a life of its own afterward. In the picture Bob remembers he must have weighed at least 250 lbs., encumbered with his M-1 rifle, a bazooka, three rockets, land mines, and other assorted “necessities.”
Fifty feet of rope hung from his chest, which he later used to lower his leg bag to the ground, easing his fall and ensuring he was ready to fight. He landed behind the mayor’s house at Ste. Mere-Eglise. In the ensuing days, Noody utilized his bazooka to destroy a German tank that threatened his unit outside of Carentan. It was his first and last bazooka usage, as he expended the three rockets he carried into battle. A leg wound at Carentan ended his Normandy adventure.
Noody recovered from his wounds in time to make the Market Garden jump. He fought with Fox Company from Eindhoven to the Rhine. While recovering from the exhaustive Holland campaign, Noody and his unit were rushed by truck to stem the German breakthrough at Bastogne. He froze in regular fatigues, holding the line in the Bois Jacques woods next to Easy Company, above the town of Foy. He survived the patrols and constant shelling only to be wounded during a nighttime recon patrol of Foy prior to Easy Company’s assault on the town. Noody was wounded by friendly fire when a comrade dropped a live grenade while they sought refuge in a small house outside of Foy.
Noody recovered from his wounds in time to join his unit at Hagenau. He vividly recalls lying in a graveyard on the German side of the river at night during an attempt to take prisoners. As fighting ensued a friend whispered, “Boy, what a convenient place to die.” He survived the patrol only to discover that the “Grease Gun” he carried was defective.
As the war ended, Noody celebrated with his unit in Berchtesgarden. One day, searching a train hidden in a tunnel, he retrieved a hand-crafted ceremonial sword belonging to Herman Goering. With the help of his friends he managed to get his prize home to America, where it now resides in a private museum collection.
Noody completed his wartime duty in Zell Am Zee, Austria, and returned to the US where he received his discharge in November 1945 at Ft. Dix, New Jersey.
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