Tower, MN (NNCNOW.com)
Thanks to the Band of Brothers TV mini-series on HBO a decade ago, many Americans are familiar with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that dropped from the sky into Normandy on June 6, 1944.
The 507th PIR was there, too, and one of its members lived in Tower, MN. Ed Kotzian shared his story with us for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day back in 1994. Here is his story from our archives:
As hundreds of thousands of soldiers prepared for the D-Day invasion in Navy and Coast Guard landing craft, other soldiers were dropping from the sky to start the invasion. The 507 PIR was one of the units getting a jump on the invasion several hours early.
Ed Kotzian of Tower, MN, was a Private First Class that day. On June 6, 1994, he recalled, "I went to see where the other troopers were but the only way you could know where they are is because you could see the chute. In other words, a lot of them were drowned. They went right to the bottom. We hit Amperville, we cleaned that town out and there's where we got a lot of casualties. House to house fighting, there was no, you didn't know if it was a Frenchmen or his kids were in that house. If you knew that just the Germans were in you would have been all right because we could throw grenades in there but we had to go and there was a lot of kids in there but we got them out of there. We were just like a bunch of bandits."
"We had a second lieutenant who got his arm blown off and his three fingers on his hand. I understand he lived through it. I never, we didn't know what happened to, we tried to find him, so far, no luck. His name was Smith and there was a lot of casualties. War has no rules. They say there's rules, but there ain't."
Ed Kotzian passed away in 2003 at the age of 85.