MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) June, 6, 1944 was the largest land and air assault ever. The D-Day invasion was a full-throttle attack to defeat the Germans. But before Winston Dezaine and his fellow soldiers could meet the enemy, they had to take on the rough waters crossing the English Channel.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You had no idea what was ahead.
Winston Dezaine: But I know where we was going. We were sicker than a dog because that Channel was so rough.
The soldiers didn't know where they would land but they knew for certain that some of them wouldn't come out alive. "Yeah, it was scary. You could hear that artillery, you could here them coming," Dezaine said.
Winston, Win for short, landed on the Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. It was bad, real bad. Everyone was scared to death," he said.
He was a 20-year old Sergeant from Johnson and was part of the Army 6th Engineering Special Brigade. He was about to witness the horrors of war. "I didn't see how we ever got across that sandy beach cause the Germans had zeroed in on us because there were ledges," Dezaine said.
The invasion started early in the morning. More than 130,000 Americans, British and Canadians landed on various beaches.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Did you think you were going to survive that day?
Winston Dezaine: Well hell no! I said I'm going to see Vermont again.
Men, really more like boys, Dezaine says, were being picked off by the Germans with machine guns on the cliffs above. "If you weren't scared, there must be something wrong with you, yes," he said.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Did you pray?
Winston Dezaine: Pray. You're God Damned right. I still have the calluses.
The saying, "there are no atheists in the foxhole" seemed only fitting. "You better drop on your knees," Dezaine said. "You needed all the help you can get."
By days end the allies got the upper hand and mostly defeated the Germans but the battle had taken its toll. The Americans had an estimated 2,000 casualties on Omaha Beach alone. "All good boys," Dezaine said.
Pictures of that bygone era cover his table. He shares them with his nephew, Steve Byrne and good friend Everett. But even after all those year the memories are raw. Many in the photos never made it home.
Winston Dezaine: I don't care about talking about the war.
Reporter Joe Carroll: How come?
Winston Dezaine: It's bad. All the young men are getting killed.
Reporter Joe Carroll: What do you want people to remember about D-Day?
Winston Dezaine: War ain't no good.
But most would say this war defined good over evil. Those who lived are well in their 90s. Eventually there will be no one left to recall the battle 75 years ago that changed the course of history.