US World War II veteran Leonard Lomell dies aged 91

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lomell as a Second Lieutenant

Former United States soldier and World War II veteran Leonard Lomell died on Tuesday at the age of 91, his family revealed on Thursday. Lomell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on June 6th, 1944, also known as D-Day. As a platoon leader in the US Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion, Lomell and other men climbed sheer cliffs to destroy German artillery.

J. Mark Mutter, a historian from Lomell's hometown of Toms River, said, "He was one of the greatest men of the greatest generation. He was so typical of that generation and put his medals and uniform in the attic after the war and built a whole new world".

Lomell was in charge of his platoon when they were set the task of destroying five German coastal guns based at the top of Pointe du Hoc between two of the landing beaches. To get to the guns they had to climb up 100-foot cliffs, with covering fire from troops based on the ground for protection. Many of Lomell's men were either shot and killed or fell to their deaths.

After Lomell and others reached the top of the cliff and fought back the Germans, it became clear that the artillery was not where it was previously believed to be. Lomell and two other Rangers found the guns unprotected in an orchard and destroyed them using grenades and explosives. For his actions historian Stephen Ambrose said that, other than future U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lomell was the one individual most responsible for the success of D-Day.

Funeral arrangements are being planned and have not yet been released.