“Off the Cuff” Comments from a Distinguished WWII Veteran
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (December 5, 2018) — VMAEC members attending December’s meeting experienced a real treat on Wednesday, December 4, 2018—a recounting of part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach by World War II Navy veteran, Tom Murphy.
Unaware of the date and timing of the monthly membership meeting, Murphy and his daughter visited the museum, intending to view the exhibits. During their visit, they spoke with President John Brinkley and several of the museum volunteers. Vice-President Bob Hawes seized the opportunity to provide the museum’s membership a firsthand recounting of D-Day. Following Murphy’s consent to answer questions about his Naval service, Hawes interviewed Murphy to elicit memories and personal reactions from him.
According to Murphy, he served as the boat’s coxswain and participated in the third wave of the Navy’s invasion at Normandy. His ship brought US Army and Marine Infantry to the beach. Murphy’s LST was one of the few ships that had a radio and one of the few actually in communication with Naval command. Murphy relayed to the VMAEC audience his surprise at the radio command to be prepared for an assault withdrawal. However, that command never came.
After dispatching soldiers Murphy’s ship was redirected to first, England, and then to Marseilles, France, where the ship collided with submerged material and sank.
Prompted by Hawes with what is the strongest memory of the landing maneuver, Murphy stated, “I clearly recall that, that day, I was pleased I was not one of those infantrymen.”
During his talk, Murphy recounted a conversation with his father (“Murphy Senior”) who was appointed to the local U.S. draft board. Murphy Senior told his son that he could not, in good conscience, identify other young men to be drafted without first having Tom, his son of 19, drafted. Murphy Senior proceeded to draft Tom as the first of his draftees.
Murphy noted he was very impressed with the Veterans Museum and its comprehensiveness of World War II military memorabilia.
Following a standing ovation for Murphy, members unanimously elected the slate of officers for two years, beginning January 1, 2019. The officers were immediately installed by Sherman Overby.
Vice President Hawes Interviewing Tom Murphy, WW2 Navy Veteran
New Officers for 2019:
From left to right: Joe Sicinski (Officer-at-Large), John Brinkley (President), Bob Hawes (Vice-President), Dee Hawes (Recording Secretary), Margaret Tedrick (Treasurer); not pictured, Andrea Whiteley, (Corresponding Secretary)