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Hometown Hero: Dick Stolz

Former sailor remembers D-Day, the amazing ability of LST ships to move troops and material to Normandy and wounded soldiers back to England.
GREEN BAY (WFRV) Dick Stolz had just finished his first year in college when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy in World War Two. He became a signal man and says he couldn't have been happier.

"I always liked the water. I enjoyed being on the water and it's just a good thing," Stolz said.

Stolz found himself attached to a new type of ship in May 1944 called a Landing Ship Tank, or L-S-T. He and his shipmates were dispatched to England. They knew they were about to take part in something big but weren't sure when or where.

"And they loaded us up with a lot of army trucks and tanks. And we sat there for maybe three weeks," Stolz recalled.

Stolz and crew members of the L-S-T's and other ships finally learned on June 6Th their destination was Normandy, France.

"Everywhere we could look there were ships and airplanes and battleships and destroyers. It was something to see," he said.

Stolz also marveled at the ability of his ship, which had been specifically designed for invasions like those at Normandy beach.

"Our LST's were built to run right up on the beach and open our bow doors and discharge our cargo. And these were big 327-foot ships," Stolz said.

The L-S-T's made repeated trips between southern England and Normandy with additional troops and supplies through changing tides and mined waters. Stolz's ship, like the others, would take on the role of life saver.

"We carried casualties back to England. We had an operating room on board. We had two doctors on the ship and they would treat the wounded," he remembered.

Stolz and his crew mates served at Normandy for nearly a month before sailing to other invasion points. He says he's proud of his service, and grateful.

"When I saw the hardship of the army on D-Day, I was more than happy that I joined the navy," Stolz said.

Local 5's Terry Kovarik has the story.

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