George Narozonick holds a replica of an LST as he tells Secretary Wyman about his experiences in World War II. (Photo courtesy Laura Mott)
A U.S. Navy sailor who took part in the Allies’ pivotal D-Day invasion is the subject of the most recent World War II profile by our Legacy Washington team.
Read the free online profile on George Narozonick, 89, here. Narozonick, a New Jersey native who moved to Olympia after the war, relives the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, and the shore-to-shore deliveries of men and machines across the English Channel.
Trucks depart an LST and drive ashore during World War II. (Photo courtesy of Navsource.org)
Narozonick’s story, written by Trova Heffernan, is part of “Washington Remembers,” a Legacy Washington salute to World War II veterans ahead of the 70th anniversary of the conflict’s end. (You can read all Washington Remembers stories here.)
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the niece of a decorated World War II Marine, says Narozonick gives readers a you-are-there account of his experiences during the largest amphibious assault in history. The turning point in the war was crucial to defeating Germany.
“What an honor it was to personally meet George,” Wyman says. “He is among a diminishing number of living American soldiers and sailors who took part in an assault that changed the course of the war and the fate of Europe. His experiences teach us about one of the most important days in our history.”
George Narozonick during his Navy days. (Photo courtesy George Narozonick)
At just 17, Narozonick enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He became a ship fitter, a gun captain and sailed a ship historians call the linchpin of D-Day. Landing Ship, Tanks (LSTs) were as long as a football field and vital to the war effort. On D-Day and in the ensuing weeks, LSTs made shore-to-shore deliveries—ferrying men, vehicles and artillery onto the beaches before returning to England with prisoners and casualties. George’s ship made more than a dozen of such crossings. While the Allies secured a foothold, George was carrying men and vehicles across the English Channel.
For his service, Narozonick received the French Legion of Honor at Napoleon’s Tomb.
Legacy Washington will next release the inspiring story of Clayton Pitre, a longtime Seattleite and Montford Point Marine. Pitre, the son of a Louisiana farmer, is among the first African American Marines and was trained on a segregated base.