Friday, April 25, 2008

Fullbore Friday

For those who have been following orders and watching Rescue Me, you are familiar with Charles Durning - and hopefully are familiar with his larger filmography.
Sure, we can ping on Hollywierd, but like Mickey Rooney, we should recognize those who deserve it. Bet-cha-didn't know this.
Durning served as a soldier in World War II, during which he was awarded a Silver Star, three Purple Heart medals, and a Good Conduct Medal. He was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 21, and landed on D-Day in the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944. Some sources state he was in the 1st Infantry Division at the time, but it is unclear if he was a rifleman or in an artillery unit by 1944.

On Omaha Beach itself, Pvt. Charles Durning was among the first troops to land. Drafted early in the war, he was first assigned as a rifleman with the 398th Infantry Regiment, but later served overseas with the 3rd Army Support troops and the 386th Anti-aircraft Artillery (AAA) Battalion.

Durning was wounded by an “S” Mine on June 15, 1944, at Les Mare des Mares. He was transported by the 499th Medical Collection Company to the 24th Evacuation Hospital. By June 17, he was back in England at the 217th General Hospital. Although severely wounded by shrapnel in the left and right thigh, right hand, the frontal region of the head and the interior left chest wall, Durning recovered quickly and was determined to be “fit for duty” on December 6, 1944. Durning was present for the Battle of the Bulge, the German counter-offensive in December 1944.[1]

He was taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge, and was one of the few survivors of the infamous Malmedy massacre of American POWs, perpetrated by a battlegroup under Joachim Peiper of the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. "He escaped with two others, and returned to find the remainder murdered."[1]

After being wounded in the chest, Durning was repatriated to the United States where he remained in army hospitals, receiving treatment for both physical and psychological wounds, until discharged with the rank of Private First Class on January 30, 1946.
If he is good enough for France - he is good enough for FbF.
Actor Charles Durning landed on Normandy's Omaha Beach as a 17(sic)-year-old Army Ranger in June 1944. Before leaving Europe, he was wounded three times and awarded three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. He will receive France's highest honor, the National Order of the Legion of Honor, in a ceremony tonight at the French government's residence in Beverly Hills. From the official release:

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