D-Day 2 Dollar Bill- by: James Burke
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Roger Hutchinson was trying to keep his mind off of the seasickness and the cramp conditions of Assault Boat #15 when he realized that he was not alone in his thoughts. It was June 6th, 1944, D-Day and he along with more than 30 other 299th Combat Engineers were heading for Omaha Beach to clear mines for the Infantry which was to arrive immediately behind them. They knew that their job would be difficult; higher-ups had anticipated casualties of more than 50%.
After noting the apprehension on the faces of other G.I.’s in the boat, Roger decided to try to dispel some of their fears by passing around a $2.00 bill for each of them to sign. Little did he realize that 50 years later this same bill would find it way into the National D-day Memorial in Bedford, Va.
As the men began signing the bill, several thoughts raced through there minds. Perhaps their signature would give them good luck and God would not let anything happen to them or by writing a loved one’s name this would some how guarantee their survival. Whatever the reason, the anticipation and preparation of the landing prevented some from placing their names on the document.
Arriving at the beach, the situation was as they had been told. For one third of those who autographed the bill, it would be the last time they would ever sign their name.
The bill would change hands in France as Roger found himself short of cash, he would sell the currency to Stewart F. MacMillan whose signature also appears on the document.
The souvenir would not resurface again for 50 years when Mo (Maurice A.) Pfister began writing the history of the 299th and even then it would remain lost until Stewart found it rolled in plastic in the middle of a mouse nest.
Unfortunately, the years have taken their toll on the currently. Not all of the signatures are recognizable and as mentioned earlier, not everyone in the boat was able to sign the bill. But fortunately with the help of Charles Hurlbut and Cornell University the following information has been deciphered.
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Signatures identified from Company C, 299th C. E. B.
Vince DeAngeles –KIA
Lt. W. L. McGuire – Boat Commander
Lloyd D. Burnett
John R. Spinelli – KIA
John M. Mulvey – KIA
Jim Evanoff - KIA
Joe Milkovic – WIA
Cy Riley – KIA
Jim Redmond – KIA
Ernest Eichhorn – KIA
Charles Burt – KIA
Donald C. McGuire – WIA
Tom Legacy – KIA
Signatures identified – Most probably from 2nd Division
Pvt. Lavern Wagner – Detroit?
Rocky _ _ _ _ _?
Gladys Yeound? (possible mother, wife girl friend?)
“Hutch” – Roger Hutchinson
Donald A. Cole
SSgt. F. Bara- - - -ski
Those who were not able to sign the bill include:
KIA – killed in action
MIA – missing in action
WIA – wounded in action
This information was provided by James Burke
Copyright © 2006 / All rights reserved.