WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-11) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives June 3 to honor Montville Township resident and veteran Herbert Terner, in advance of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Sherrill spoke of Terner and Private William Brodish, who also served in WWII, but did not come home.
“This week we celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and I rise to honor two of our New Jersey residents who participated in Operation Overlord,” Sherrill told the House of Representatives.
Sherrill told the story of Brodish, who was killed in action on Omaha Beach at age 22. Then she told Terner’s story.
“Herbert Terner enlisted in the Army in 1942, and on D-Day, he parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne,” she told the assembly. “As a radio specialist, he alerted troops of landing positions. He continued to fight after D-Day in the Battle of the Bulge, and eventually helped to liberate prisoners from the concentration camps. I had the great honor of meeting Herbert, now 98 years old, and a resident of Montville, over Memorial Day weekend. Tonight I honor Herbert, William, and all the New Jersey residents who put their lives on the line to defend democracy and free Europe from the grasp of the Nazis and totalitarianism.”
To view Sherrill's speech, click: SHERRILL-TERNER C-SPAN
Herbert was a pathfinder and radio expert who parachuted out of C47s before and during the invasions of WWII, notifying the troops of viable landing positions, and then engaging in combat. His unit was known as the Screaming Eagles, and the Army’s Special Forces unit was born from that division. As a radio expert and mechanic, he would call in the directions of where to go into battle once he landed.
“We were first shipped into England, and then flew to France to begin Operation Overlord,” Terner wrote in a memoir. “I parachuted into Cherbourg, France and then on to Normandy, where we called in the troops onto Utah beach during the invasion on D-Day. We lost a lot of parachuters in that drop. There were 28,000 men in total… 15,000 landed and 13,000 died. It was difficult to gather the men after they landed in their drop zones because of the shortage of radios and the hard-to-reach terrain.”
Terner recalled the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium being difficult due to the snow and lack of ammunition, food or medicine. He also recalled the horrors of liberating the prisoners from the Nazi extermination camps.
“It was a heart-wrenching scene to witness, and people should never forget that cruelty,” he wrote.
Read more about Herbert Terner’s story here.
Read about Sherrill’s guest appearance at the Montville Township Memorial Day commemoration event here.
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