During the June 17 Legacy Series presentation of “General Marshall and Private Martin: Two Perspectives on D-Day,” LTC Bradley Coleman focused on General Marshall’s keen interest in using airborne forces to open a second front behind enemy lines as part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Although Marshall’s plans were never implemented, said Dr. Coleman who teaches history at VMI, Marshall remained concerned that airborne forces that were eventually deployed in a more conventional fashion not be scattered and isolated from each other.
This was the latest program in The World Wars sequence of the Marshall Legacy Series. As chief of staff of the U.S. Army, General George C. Marshall worked closely with President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, among others, to develop plans for the invasion.
Jim Martin, a 101st Airborne veteran of the D-Day landings was to have spoken also, but he developed a health problem that prevented his appearance in Lexington. Instead we showed a video of his life in the Army including preparations for D-Day, the landings and the aftermath.
A recording of the proceedings, including the Jim Martin segment, can be seen below, or on the Marshall Foundation’s YouTube channel.