"The First Wave" with D-Day heroes autographed bookplate
- ABOUT THE BOOK
We have the best-selling hardback book The First Wave available with a bookplate designed exclusively for Valor Studios that has been hand-autographed by two D-Day heroes: Russell Pickett, a flamethrower operator in A-Company (of "Bedford Boys" fame) and Joe Scida, D-Day Higgins boat crewmember.
Enjoy the video below of President Trump telling Russell's story at the D-Day Anniversary ceremony.
Includes a COA // free US shipping // ships bubble wrapped & boxed
“Meet the assaulters: pathfinders plunging from the black, coxswains plowing the whitecaps, bareknuckle Rangers scaling sheer rock . . . Fast-paced and up close, this is history’s greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can.”—Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of Spearhead and A Higher Call
Beginning in the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows the remarkable men who carried out D-Day’s most perilous missions.
The charismatic, unforgettable cast includes the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the glider pilot who braved antiaircraft fire to crash-land mere yards from the vital Pegasus Bridge; the brothers who led their troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; as well as a French commando, returning to his native land, who fought to destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach and beyond.
Readers will experience the sheer grit of the Rangers who scaled Pointe du Hoc and the astonishing courage of the airborne soldiers who captured the Merville Gun Battery in the face of devastating enemy counterattacks. The first to fight when the stakes were highest and the odds longest, these men would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler’s fortress Europe—and the very history of the twentieth century.
The result is an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw’s remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on World War II's longest day.
Joining the Army at age 18, Russell Pickett found himself assigned to A-Company, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division which also contained the famed "Bedford Boys." Russell and his fellow soldiers of A-Company were among the first wave to hit Omaha Beach, where they were nearly wiped out, suffering some 230 casualties. Russell was knocked unconscious prior to hitting the beach and awoke in the surf with an injured back. He was rescued and taken to a hospital in England but not for long, as he insisted on rejoining his company to help expand the beach head. He was wounded in combat two more times and eventually assigned a recovery job at a hospital in England where he survived the war. Russell Pickett died in August 2020, just weeks after signing The First Wave bookplates, a last act that he saw as an important task to make sure the fallen of D-Day would never be forgotten. We're thankful to Joe Conway and Russell's wife Marilyn for their help in making this possible.
On D-Day, 19-year-old Petty Officer Joe Scida served as a signalman on a Higgins boat crew bringing soldiers of the "Big Red One" into Omaha Beach. He made numerous runs into the beach that day, ferrying troops from his mothership, LST 495, stationed not far off shore. In the weeks that followed, he continued running men and supplies into the beachhead until a back injury had him reporting to England for treatment. Following his recovery, he was ordered to remain in England, working for the military postal service, a posting that led to him meeting a Cornwall girl named Kay who he would marry and still remains married to this day.
Enjoy this powerful video tribute to D-Day hero Russell Pickett: