Local veteran shares his experience of D-Day and how he survived
BALL, La. (KALB) - Seventy-seven years ago, 156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces stormed the five beaches of Normandy, France, in what is now known as D-Day.
Paul Ferrant, a 99-year-old veteran, served in the United States Army Air Forces (before the Air Force even became a branch) as a turret gunner. He flew over on D-Day in an A-20 Havoc and still remembers what he saw on June 6, 1944.
“It was unbelievable what they had in that channel,” Ferrant said.
Ferrant says there were so many boats headed to Normandy that he could’ve walked on the boats from the French coast to the English channel.
“Dad did not see the devastation that other people saw,” Verena Harp, Ferrant’s daughter, said.
Harp said it is because he was in the air. She believes being a turret gunner probably saved her father’s life.
“God put him where he wanted him,” Harp said. “Which was in the plane, so he could be protected.”
Harps says Ferrant and his pilot were not aware of the destruction taking place on the ground until later, but the news came with a heavy price.
“He had a brother that was on the ground that went into Normandy,” Harp said. “He made it through June 6, June 7, June 8, but on the 9, he did not make it. So, we lost him. He lost a brother there.”
Ferrant and his family had to deal with the heart-wrenching pain for a long time. Harp said it was not until recently Ferrant started to opening up about D-Day and his time in the service.
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