|French Legion of Honour recipient, Ralph Ticcioni|
John Maddente photo
As a paratrooper that fateful day, Ralph along with thousands of his comrades were dropped behind enemy lines. Unlike his comrades, he landed smack onto a farm rooftop in Cherbourg, France whereupon he had to cut himself loose from his own parachute which was entangled on a weather vane. Some history readers and viewers of the movie, Saving Private Ryan will recall that Cherbourg was a location of critical importance during the invasion.
Speaking of the movie, Ralph told me that when he viewed the first twenty minutes; he thought he was watching an actual news reel of the event. (Other D-Day veterans have expressed a similar reaction to that film segment).
Ralph could recall the gear he carried that day, including the amount of ammunition and all the weapons he was issued which included a sidearm (.45 caliber semiautomatic pistol), several hand grenades and a Thompson sub-machine gun (which was swapped for an M1 Carbine rifle after paratroopers reunited with American supply units).
So pleased to have met this man yesterday. To all like him, living or not, I say thank you for defending freedom and God bless you.