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Synopsis

When Dwayne Burns turned 18 during World War II he decided that he wanted to fight alongside America's best. He joined the paratroopers and was assigned to the 508th Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division. Little did he suspect that a year later he'd be soaring in a flak-riddled C-47 over Normandy part of the very spearhead of the Allied drive to seize back Europe.Burns landed behind German lines during the dark early hours of D-day and gradually found other survivors of his division. The paratroopers fought on every side in a confused running battle through the hedgerows finally making a stand in a surrounded farmhouse. With one room reserved for their growing piles of corpses the paratroopers held their ground until finally relieved by infantry advancing from the beaches.After being pulled out of Normandy the airborne troops were said to be "burning a hole in SHAEF's pocket " and thus were launched into Holland as part of Montgomery's plan to gain a bridgehead across the Rhine. This daytime jump was less confused than the nocturnal one but there were more Germans than expected and fewer Allied forces in support. It was another maelstrom of pointblank combat in all directions and though the 82d achieved its objectives the campaign as a whole achieved little but casualties.In this work Dwayne Burns assisted by his son Leland (U.S. Army 1975-79) not only relates the chaos of combat but the intimate thinking of a young soldier thrust into the center of several of history's greatest battles. His memories provide a fascinating insight into the reality of close-quarters combat.

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