Mays Landing’s Peter Fantacone was an 18-year-old Navy radioman who trained for months to help the Allies communicate during the D-Day attack on June 6, 1944.
He crossed the English Channel that morning on Landing Craft Infantry 492, a 150-foot vessel in a Coast Guard flotilla that carried 200 Army troops to land on Omaha Beach. Most were gunned down quickly by Germans.
When Fantacone, 87, talks about that day, he wants people to know about the U.S. Coast Guard’s role.
“A lot of people don’t know the Coast Guard played such a vital part in the invasion of Normandy,” he said. “They manned most of the landing craft, and they were on attack transports.”
After the invasion, he was among the first of the Allied personnel in Cherbourg, France, where he helped set up a naval radio station. From there he spent time in Le Havre, France, at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia and in areas of the Pacific after the war ended.
People were starving in Shanghai, China, and he remembers throwing leftover food from the ship to locals in small bumboats. More than 50 years later, he was leading a tour group at the Battleship New Jersey in Camden when a middle-aged Chinese woman was in the group with her father.
“I told her about the boats, and she (translated) for her father,” Fantacone said.
Then the father called Fantacone a hero.
“He was one of the guys who used to get food in those boats,” Fantacone said.
Niki Giberson, owner and operator of Swan Bay Farm in Port Republic, is teaching weaving for seniors through The Stockton Center on Successful Aging from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 1 at the Noyes Museum of Art, 733 Lilly Lake Road, in Oceanville, Galloway Township.
Call 609-652-8848, or email email@example.com to register.
Dylan R. Wulderk, son of Erin and Scott Wulderk, of Hammonton, won the Senior Prize in Government at Hamilton College's annual Class and Charter Day on May 13.
The prize is awarded to the outstanding senior government student. Wulderk is a graduate of Hammonton High School.