“Right now I am in a foxhole just as far down below ground as I can get. And this is the safest place to be for those German 88s are really rugged. Naturally censorship is very strict and I can tell you practically nothing except that at the present moment I am all right.”
— Army Pvt. Ed Jennings’ letter to his mom
July 16, 1944
One week after landing on Utah Beach
Navy veteran Ron Deanne of Henderson in June retraced steps that Army Pvt. Ed Jennings took 70 years ago on battlefields and cities where the 5th Infantry Division fought in France and Germany during World War II.
Jennings had moved to Las Vegas from the East Coast with his wife, Fern, in 1984. He was dying from leukemia and was too sick to live his dream to return to France for the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
Ten years later, Fern Jennings wrote a book about the letters her husband sent to his family. After reading a Review-Journal story about the book, “Your loving son, ‘Ed,’ ” Deanne devoted his recent trip to Jennings’ memory and marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
“My tour revealed something that I did not know,” Deanne wrote in an email. “This entire area was flooded by the Nazis before the initial troop landings, which inhibited the 5th Army mechanized division from bringing all the heavy equipment in. It took 30 days before anyone could move forward effectively.
“He was a brave man who made it back to the states. We are very fortunate to have had brave men like Pvt. Ed Jennings and all of those other courageous souls that did not come back after the war.”