16 February 2014

#7 52 Ancestors: Orville Vanderpool

Jumping into France

D-Day Normandy (France)
Orville Ralph Vanderpool, born 27 August 1921 in Kansas, grew up in Oklahoma, and was just an ordinary young man who joined the service in the autumn of 1939 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Orville was the son of William Arthur “Art” Vanderpool (1889-1967) and Sarah E. “Lizzie” Cody (1888-ca 1922).
Orville Ralph Vanderpool
 However, like many others of his generation, he took part in one of the most extraordinary events of the 20th century — the Normandy invasion. He was there on D-Day abroad the Donna Mae — one of the 18 parachutists of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division preparing to jump into France. He was two months shy of his 23rd birthday, which he never lived to celebrate. His plane went down near Magneville (France) on the way into the Drop Zone.

Today on the western edge of the small village of Magneville stands a memorial stone erected in memory of the 18 506th PIR paratroopers and four 95th Troop Carrier Squadron flight crew. These 22 men lost their lives during the early hours of 6th June 1944 when the crippled aircraft in which they were flying was shot down. The Third Battalion hit its drop zone right on the mark. As a result, two of the three planes in the battalion that were shot down were from I Company. The first plane to go down was Chalk 15 carrying what is believed to have been a mixture of men from 1st Platoon and HQ section. The jumpmaster was 1Lt. Gerald V. Howard and the pilot was 1Lt. Ray Pullen; #15 had been one of three planes randomly selected to carry additional ammunition (TNT) in wing bundles.

A German tracer round hit one of the bundles and the plane exploded in mid-air.

The marker: near Magneville in France:


 The names of those who died there that day:

1Lt. Gerry Howard - (Jumpmaster) (KIA 6/6/44)

Sgt. Robert Todd - Communications (KIA 6/6/44)

T/4. John Bray - (KIA 6/6/44)

Cpl. Don Bignall - Asst Squad Ldr (KIA 6/6/44)

Cpl. Marvin Stallings - Asst Squad Ldr (KIA 6/6/44)

T/5. Orville Vanderpool - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. Gilbert Amabisco - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. Richard Calhoon - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. Warren Carney - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. John Kittia - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. William Olson - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pvt. James Farrel - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pfc. Fred Smith - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pvt. Paul Weber - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pvt. Howard Philips - (KIA 6/6/44)

Pvt. Glen Weirich - (KIA 6/6/44)

May they rest in peace.


A grave marker and additional information about Orville R. Vanderpool also can be found in the Coop Prairie Cemetery in Mansfield, Scott County, Arkansas via Find-a-Grave website.

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