George Narozonick

Sailor on the Longest Day

You could feel the effect and smell the real thing, gunpowder. D-Day was the day it was for real. It wasn’t a maneuver anymore. It was not an exercise. Either you knew how to pray or you learned how to pray.

Shipfitter, 3rd Class, George Narozonick, U.S. Navy

No invading army had braved the English Channel since the 17th century. But in June 1944, a massive armada crossed the formidable military barrier. George Narozonick, an 18-year-old shipfitter from Central New Jersey, stood topside on a ship longer than an American football field. On D-Day and in the ensuing weeks, his USS LST 501 ferried men and machines to the beaches, and the casualties back to England

George Narozonick

Top: Narozonick stands in the second row, third from the left, as a young recruit at Sampson Naval Training Station in Seneca, New York. Narozonick Family Collection

Bottom: Secretary of State Kim Wyman relives D-Day with Narozonick at his home in Olympia, Wash. “Veterans like George are humble, but they are true heroes,” Wyman says. “To learn from their stories is a gift.” Laura Mott

George Narozonick

An American landing ship tank opens its bow doors off the coast of North Africa. National Archives

Landing Ship, Tanks (LSTs) made shore-to-shore deliveries of men, cargo and vehicles on enemy turf all over the world. The vessels, designed with a flat bottom and enormous doors to discharge vehicles, have been called the linchpin of D-Day because of their ability to land on any sloped beach.

George Narozonick

Narozonick Family Collection