Ultimate D-Day hero recalls cliffs of Normandy
Of all the stories of the Allied invasion at Normandy in World War II, perhaps none leaps off the pages of history like that of Leonard Lomell.
The 87-year-old Toms River resident was a staff sergeant and platoon leader with the elite 2nd Ranger Battalion, whose soldiers scaled a 100-foot seaside cliff during the invasion and destroyed five giant German guns to clear the way for allied troops.
It's a story that's been told at countless reunions over the years, documented in books and films and touted by historians as one of the most important keys to allied success on D-Day.
But for Lomell, like most D-Day vets, the first thing that comes to mind when asked about that day is a darker, simpler truth.
"There was a lot of death," he said yesterday. "I lost half my guys. What more is there to know?"
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