Anderson County veteran remembers fighting on D-Day

Anderson County veteran remembers fighting on D-Day

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Bill Deaderick, 90, was part of the unique 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 70 years ago. He was right out of Lake City High School when drafted in June 1943. He had been senior class president and quarterback on the football team. (source: Bill Deaderick) Bill Deaderick, 90, was part of the unique 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 70 years ago. He was right out of Lake City High School when drafted in June 1943. He had been senior class president and quarterback on the football team. (source: Bill Deaderick)
"It was early in the morning. It had been raining. The weather had been bad. They held us up a little while," said D-Day veteran Bill Deaderick. "We were gliders. We were draftees." "It was early in the morning. It had been raining. The weather had been bad. They held us up a little while," said D-Day veteran Bill Deaderick. "We were gliders. We were draftees."
Pvt. Deaderick would fight the rest of the war in Europe making a second glider landing at the Battle of the Bulge. (source: Bill Deaderick) Pvt. Deaderick would fight the rest of the war in Europe making a second glider landing at the Battle of the Bulge. (source: Bill Deaderick)
By DON DARE
6 News Reporter

LAKE CITY (WATE) - Seventy years ago, on June 6, 1944, D-Day began. It was the greatest amphibious and airborne operation of all time.

For American forces, the Battle of Normandy played a vital role in the outcome of World War II.

On D-Day, 130,000 allied soldiers stormed heavily defended French beaches in their assault on Nazi-occupied Europe.

Three thousand planes dropped 23,000 airborne troops behind German lines, but a lesser known and much smaller group of brave men set down silently behind enemy lines on June 6, aboard defenseless and powerless gliders.

"It was early in the morning. It had been raining. The weather had been bad. They held us up a little while," said D-Day veteran Bill Deaderick. "We were gliders. We were draftees."

Deaderick, 90, was part of the unique 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 70 years ago. He was right out of Lake City High School when drafted in June 1943. He had been senior class president and quarterback on the football team.

He would see combat one year later, aboard a glider, with no armor to protect him, and landing in a field in what's called was a "controlled crash."

"Everybody rides at one time and lands at one place," he said. "One place. Boom! crash landing. There wasn't anyplace to land them. Daybreak was coming when we got there. With tracer bullets coming in, you don't have to have orders. Nobody had to tell you what to do. It's spooky. We had already been taking machine gun fire when we went in."

Pvt. Deaderick would fight the rest of the war in Europe making a second glider landing at the Battle of the Bulge. His unit slogged its way through Holland then into Germany.

"I lay down at night, have dreams. All this stuff starts coming back. Every time you shut your eyes, here it comes."

The 325th Glider Infantry, attached to the 82nd Airborne, was hit hard. If not killed on impact, many died or were wounded fighting their way to Berlin.

"We lost half our division over there. Half of them, 11,000 men. Took on 40,000 Germans and whipped them. It was hell on Earth," Deaderick said.

We asked him what he wants people to remember on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

"The guys that didn't come back. I'm not a hero. They are," he replied.

When Deaderick came home he worked at Alcoa, got married had a daughter and granddaughter. To him and others, we say thank you.
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