Birthday: February 26, 1919
Birthplace: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Family: Louis and Ida Bord
Branch: Coast Guard
Men aboard the 350th LCT.
Donald P. Bord left the United States on April 1, 1943. "I went into the service because there were no `dead end' jobs. The pay was poor on the outside, and the service paid more." Before leaving, Donald received his basic training in Louisiana and started as an apprentice seaman. He was later assigned to train in Keywest, Florida on the ocean.
Donald Bord was a part of the 350th Landing Craft Infantry (LCI), which arrived in North Africa about 22 days later, after stopping in Bermuda along the way. There Donald was able to rest, go to Church, and have a few drinks with his buddies. While in North Africa, the 350th LCI, along with other men in other Infantries followed the African coast until they arrived at Lake Bizerte. " Bizerte was a bad place. The Germans used to entertain us twice a night there,"
"One time when some of our guys were on shore leave over in Africa, they bartered some cigarettes and ships' stores for a cow. They brought the dead cow back to our LCI in a dinghy. Chef White had a great time with that. Our Chef White of the 350th studied cooking in France before the war. He could fix spam more ways then anybody. The 350th was the envy of the other LCI's cause he was such a good chef. Fresh meat was sure a treat after Spam. We shared the meat with the other LCI's, so none of it spoiled."
Bizerte became almost a home base for the invasions of Sicily and Salerno, Italy. The 350th had a lot of practice beaching day and night so that they would be fully prepared for Sicily. Their basic job would be to go in and rescue survivors and the dead that would be on the beach and bring them back to the hospital ships. According to an interview with the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Bord stated, " On July 8, we picked up troops and headed for Gala, Sicily. The Mediterranean was really rough and most of the soldiers were seasick. Finally, though, we landed amid quite a bit of gunfire. We received hits through the engine room and had to live in a foxhole for four days. Then we returned to Bizerte for repairs.
Bord then described the invasion of Italy. "On September 6 we loaded troops and headed for Italy. We stopped in Palermo, Sicily to give the troops a rest and then continued our trip the following day. On September 10 we landed at Salerno. Salerno was a really "hot" spot. The mountains close to the beach were filled with guns and it took 19 days to clean them out. We were made stretcher-bearers here and it was really rugged. It was bad enough handling the wounded, but then those guns and frequent air raids made those days seem 10 times worse. We averaged six raids a day at Salerno."
According to one of Donald Bord's fellow men aboard the 350th LCI, he said, "You know living on a landing craft can be very frustrating. You always have to take it; you never get a chance to fight back. First, it is the elements and the seas, living on a flat bottom ship with very little control in a wild sea; one has to fight her all the time. Landing on the beaches we had to get troops ashore at any cost no chance to fight back." In the same interview with the Daily Tribune, Bord continued, " From Salerno, we were supposed to go to India. We reached as far as the Suez Canal and then were recalled to Italy. Our next destination was the beachhead at Anzio. Nothing happened there for three days, and then all hell broke loose. Conditions were so tough there that we received a day off every five days so that the nerves of the crews would hold up. We also evacuated civilians from Anizio to Naples.
After the difficulties in Anzio, Bord was sent to England. There Bord had a brief chance to rest and recuperate. According to Bord's wife, England was a great change for him. Soon, Bord began preparing for the great invasion off the west coast of France. "We never dreamed it was France, but we worked very hard at it. These pre-invasion jobs are 24 hour-a-day jobs. You can't stop and rest, no matter how much you want to; there are too many lives at stake."
"We sensed that the big day was fast approaching. On June 1 we loaded troops and sailed to a small town in southeast England. There we waited for D-Day. We now knew where we were going, but we still hadn't been told the exact day."
"Of course we all know now that it was supposed to have come off on June 5, but was delayed 24 hours because of strong winds in the English Channel. My boat left on the 5th anyway, and we finally reached our destination at H plus 11/2."
"There was plenty of fire on the French beach and our boat didn't quite make it to shore. Shells caught us about 50 yards out and set us on fire. However, we managed to get some of the troops off before abandoning ship. It was a tremendous experience and one I'll never forget."
Bord stayed in France through the first tense month of fighting, remaining until July 15, when he went to Glasgow, Scotland. In his two years of overseas service, Bord had to undertow a total of 458 air raids. The following day he sailed for America, arriving in New York on July 27. He then came to his home in Wisconsin Rapids on a three-week leave.
On Oct. 19, 1946, Donald married Rosa Weyer. They had four children. Donald Bord passed away on January 17, 2000.
under Learn and Serve American Grant #00LSFWI104