Unsentimental journey for D-Day veteran

Unsentimental journey for D-Day veteran

D-DAY VETERAN: Chester P. Sloan, nicknamed Buck on an earlier visit to Normandy Photo credit: Normandy Victory Museum

Randy Buelens wants 99-year-old Chester P. Sloan, a D-Day veteran nicknamed Buck, to return to Normandy on June 6.

Buck, 20 at the time, was posted to Normandy a few weeks after the initial landings and sent to Company B, 38th Infantry Regiment, part of the Second Infantry Division known as the Indian Head Division.

As a gunner he took part in the fierce battles to liberate Brest and after fighting in Brittany was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge waged in the densely-forested Ardennes region between Belgium and Luxembourg.

“”I met Buck for the first time five years ago, during the Battle of the Bulge anniversary,” Randy (26) told Vlaamse Radio and Television (VRT).

“He was the first veteran I met and that was really an overwhelming experience,” he added.

“I sent Buck a letter afterwards to thank him and he invited me to Houston,” Randy said, explaining that he has now visited Buck three times.

Buck celebrates his 100th birthday on 1 June and Randy hopes he can visit Europe to attend the 80th D-Day anniversary.

“It is still hugely important to him, even so many years later. It is and always will be a big part of his life,” Randy said.

“Unfortunately, Buck cannot afford the trip but now is really the time to honour veterans like him. They are all in their late 90s or early 100s and in a few years, there will be no more veterans.”

Randy hopes to raise €4,000 via crowdfunding, and at last count had reached €3,785.

“That money will mainly pay for his plane tickets and stay in Normandy. This time, his wife Shirley will join him, which means that a decent sum is needed,” he said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.