Norman Edward Nuckols never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
This profile has been updated to include corrected information provided by Joe Balkowski.
Prior to joining the army, Norman had completed four years of high school and was working as a gas station attendant. He was drafted on April 21, 1941. He became a staff sergeant in the HQ company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. It was given the assignment of being the first troops, along with the 1st Infantry Division, to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
It is likely he was killed on the landing craft occupied by the 3rd Battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Lawrence Meeks, when that craft hit a mine a few hundred yards off Omaha Beach. Many of the troops were still pinned down when the regimental commander Colonel Charles Canham motivated the men to move across the dangerous beach to the relative safety of the shingle. Companies suffered as high as 90% casualties.
Sgt. Nuckols' gravestone lists his date of death as June 9, 1944. This was a company clerk error. He is one of the D-Day fallen.
His grave is at Woodland Cemetery in Ashland, Virginia.
Born on the same day as Norman was Samuel Walton who would go on to found the Walmart empire. Sam was born in Oklahoma. He developed strong work habits as a youth and worked his way through college at the University of Missouri and graduated with a degree in economics. He joined the army in the US Army Intelligence Corps where he supervised security at stateside aircraft plants and POW camps. He finished the war with the rank of captain.
We will never know if Norman Nuckols or the other WW2 fallen may have achieved similar achievements.
Last year on this date I profiled Navy Cross hero Harold Taylor who was a marine on Guadalcanal. You can read about Harold here.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100