Death:Jun. 6, 1944
Charles Milliron was from Salem, Virginia, in Ronoake County. Charles worked at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp before the war and served in the Army. He was killed in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.Survived by his parents, George and Nettie May Milliron; sisters, Dorothy Milliron Snyder, Pearl Flora Milliron Huff, Frances Lucille Milliron Bloomer; brothers Alfred and Roy. Buried at the Omaha Beach American Cemetery in Normandy.
Charles Milliron had been reported missing in action June 6; the next day, a soldier who was crossing the beach was forced by artillery fire into a foxhole. He noticed a dog tag in the hole and put it in his kit. Five years after the war, the man went through his belongings and found the dog tag; it belonged to Milliron and bore his mother’s address. Says his friend Bob Slaughter: “The man mailed the tag to Mrs. Milliron with a cover letter telling how he had found the tag and hoped that her son was now home and doing OK.”
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Basse-Normandie Region, France
Read more Pvt Charles R Milliron (1920 – 1944)
Omaha Beach and Beyond
Many of those killed were, like me, barely teenagers when they enlisted, just starting to grow to maturity in the army. Those comrades and I spent many happy weekends and furloughs together, soaking up culture and drinking bitters. We shared living quarters, read each other’s mail, and, more significantly, shared the misery of training in the most extreme of elements.
The 116th Infantry lost from 800 to 1,000 men on D-Day and D Company lost at least seventy-two. Of the dead, twenty of them were from my hometown of Roanoke. Five of nine of our officers were killed, including Captain Walter O. Schilling (who was from Roanoke), 1st Lieutenant William Gardener, 1st Lieutenant Merle Cummings, 1st Lieutenant Vincent Labowicz and 2nd Lieutenant Alton Ashley. There were twelve noncoms killed, including these Roanokers: First Sergeant James H. Obenshain, Staff Sergeant James L. Wright, Sergeant Russell W. “Jack” Ingram and Sergeant George D. Johnson, Corporal Jack R. Simms. Add to the list of the dead twenty-three privates, including Roanokers Private First Class Charles R. Milliron and Private First Class Walter D. Sink. The company had thirty-two men wounded, many of them severely. And yet our nightmare had just begun.
Before the invasion, the 29th Division numbered about 14,000, and replacements poured in as men were killed or wounded. By the time we took Saint-Lô six weeks later, it was said that the 29th was really three divisions: one in the field, another in the hospital, and yet a third in the cemetery. We endured those unbelievable hardships so we could participate in D-Day, which we knew would be huge, deadly, and unforgettable. Yet we couldn’t fathom the terrible odds of surviving just one day fighting in the hedgerows of Normandy.