Guy Whidden, Paratrooper

Guy Whidden, Paratrooper

Guy Whidden was one of the first to parachute into Normandy on D-Day. A moment of divine intervention would save his life.


We (Walk Among Heroes) are proud to continue our D-Day discussion this week by welcoming Mr. Guy Whidden, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Whidden jumped into Normandy early on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944. His platoon’s objective was to secure one of the exits from Utah Beach, but his plane flew off-course over the English Channel, and Mr. Whidden ended up landing in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town liberated by the Allies in Normandy. Today, the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise continues to hang a parachute from the church tower in honor of 1LT John Steele, who landed on the tower with his parachute stuck D-Day morning (and subsequently faced a very harrowing set of circumstances). Sainte-Mere-Eglise is also home to the Airborne Museum, an incredible exhibition of military history that paints the picture of what exactly happened in France during the Normandy invasion.

Mr. Whidden and his men fought through the hedgerows in Normandy before finally withdrawing a month later back to England from Cherbourg. In England, the paratroopers continued training, and eventually jumped into Holland in September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden, a massive Airborne operation aimed at creating a northern entrance into Germany in an attempt to bypass stout German defenses along the West Wall, or Siegfried Line. A very difficult mission, the paratroopers were left on their own, as ground forces were late in arriving. Mr. Whidden was seriously wounded during the operation, which ultimately ended the war for him.

Mr. Whidden’s military stories are amazing, but equally entertaining are his many stories from childhood, teenage years, and life after the military. Mr. Whidden is one of very few living paratroopers who jumped into Normandy with the 82nd and/or 101st Airborne Divisions. He has written a book, ‘Between the Lines and Beyond: Letters of a 101st Airborne Paratrooper.’ There is even a commemorative action figure available in his likeness to honor the heroes of D-Day.

There are three parts to this episode: Episode 11A covers Mr. Whidden’s childhood, Army training, and several combat stories. Episode 11B covers his deployment to England and stories overseas. Episode 11C covers the majority of his combat in Normandy, Operation Market, his injury, and journey home.

We have truly enjoyed getting to know Mr. Whidden over these past several years, and we hope you enjoy his stories as much as we did.

You can find all podcast episodes at: www.walkamongheroes.org/podcast.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at [email protected]

A special 'thank you' to Shreyas Ganesh for donating his time as sound engineer.


We (Walk Among Heroes) are proud to conclude our three-part discussion this week with Mr. Guy Whidden, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Whidden jumped into Normandy early on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944. His platoon’s objective was to secure one of the exits from Utah Beach, but his plane flew off-course over the English Channel, and Mr. Whidden ended up landing in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town liberated by the Allies in Normandy. Today, the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise continues to hang a parachute from the church tower in honor of 1LT John Steele, who landed on the tower with his parachute stuck D-Day morning (and subsequently faced a very harrowing set of circumstances). Sainte-Mere-Eglise is also home to the Airborne Museum, an incredible exhibition of military history that paints the picture of what exactly happened in France during the Normandy invasion.

Mr. Whidden and his men fought through the hedgerows in Normandy before finally withdrawing a month later back to England from Cherbourg. In England, the paratroopers continued training, and eventually jumped into Holland in September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden, a massive Airborne operation aimed at creating a northern entrance into Germany in an attempt to bypass stout German defenses along the West Wall, or Siegfried Line. A very difficult mission, the paratroopers were left on their own, as ground forces were late in arriving. Mr. Whidden was seriously wounded during the operation, which ultimately ended the war for him.

Mr. Whidden’s military stories are amazing, but equally entertaining are his many stories from childhood, teenage years, and life after the military. Mr. Whidden is one of very few living paratroopers who jumped into Normandy with the 82nd and/or 101st Airborne Divisions. He has written a book, ‘Between the Lines and Beyond: Letters of a 101st Airborne Paratrooper.’ There is even a commemorative action figure available in his likeness to honor the heroes of D-Day.

There are three parts to this episode: Episode 11A covers Mr. Whidden’s childhood, Army training, and several combat stories. Episode 11B covers his deployment to England and stories overseas. Episode 11C (this episode) covers the majority of his combat in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, his injury, and finally his journey home.

We have truly enjoyed getting to know Mr. Whidden over these past several years, and we hope you enjoy his stories as much as we did.

You can find all podcast episodes at: www.walkamongheroes.org/podcast.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at [email protected]

A special 'thank you' to Shreyas Ganesh for donating his time as sound engineer.


98-Year-Old World War II Veteran Recalls 'Divine Intervention' Moment

Guy Whidden, Jr. is a 98-year-old veteran of World War II from Frederick County, Maryland. He is believed to be the county&rsquos last living person who invaded Normandy on D-Day. He said he was able to survive the war because of &ldquodivine intervention.&rdquo

He was interviewed by The Epoch Times during a local commemoration of that critical day on June 6, 2021, the 77th anniversary of D-Day.

Whidden served as a member of the 502nd Infantry Parachute Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He was just 300 feet off the ground when he jumped onto Normandy soil. The scene, he recalled, was dramatic: paratroopers hit the ground before their chutes opened, planes were crashing into the ocean, and bullets were being levied at and from the aircraft overhead.

Before touching the ground, he felt a hit in his chest and thought he had been shot. He reached toward his chest and pulled out his prayer book. A fragment of metal from a mortar shell was stuck to the back cover of the book. &ldquoThat was divine intervention,&rdquo he remembers thinking. &ldquoSomebody&rsquos looking after me.&rdquo

Once on land, the enemy fire resulted in Whidden falling into a ditch for safety. A German officer approached him and pinned him to the ground, pointing a pistol at him. Whidden tried to grab his trench knife but could not retrieve it.

The officer stared at Whidden for a while and then, inexplicably, surrendered the pistol to him, Whidden stated in past interviews with The Frederick News-Post. He thought perhaps he reminded the officer of one of his own children, so the officer could not pull the trigger.

Weighing only 80 or so pounds in high school, Whidden was bullied regularly and timid as a result. However, his time in the military changed him. With a strong faith in God, he learned to be brave and face the unknown. He was able to accomplish this because he was receiving &ldquodivine intervention,&rdquo he said.

He does not refer to himself as a hero for his actions during the war but claims that he was just &ldquoone of the lucky ones.&rdquo He said that the real heroes are the ones who gave their lives for their country.

Whidden authored a book, &ldquoBetween the Lines and Beyond: Letters of a 101st Airborne Paratrooper.&rdquo He has been interviewed numerous times for his story and given many talks to children and college students. He feels sorry for the partisan perspectives that are creating such discord in our nation, &ldquoBack in my day, parties got along well together.&rdquo He has observed that college campuses are particularly intolerant of open dialogue and are no longer bastions of free speech and diverse thinking.

Despite all of the bad actors in the world and the difficulties experienced with the pandemic this past year, Whidden remains optimistic. &ldquoI love people &hellip I like to see them happy.&rdquo During his talks, he always tells people to &ldquostay strong. Keep smiling and try to see the sunny side of life.&rdquo


Guy Whidden, Paratrooper - HISTORY

We (Walk Among Heroes) are proud to conclude our three-part discussion this week with Mr. Guy Whidden, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Whidden jumped into Normandy early on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944. His platoon’s objective was to secure one of the exits from Utah Beach, but his plane flew off-course over the English Channel, and Mr. Whidden ended up landing in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town liberated by the Allies in Normandy. Today, the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise continues to hang a parachute from the church tower in honor of 1LT John Steele, who landed on the tower with his parachute stuck D-Day morning (and subsequently faced a very harrowing set of circumstances). Sainte-Mere-Eglise is also home to the Airborne Museum, an incredible exhibition of military history that paints the picture of what exactly happened in France during the Normandy invasion.

Mr. Whidden and his men fought through the hedgerows in Normandy before finally withdrawing a month later back to England from Cherbourg. In England, the paratroopers continued training, and eventually jumped into Holland in September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden, a massive Airborne operation aimed at creating a northern entrance into Germany in an attempt to bypass stout German defenses along the West Wall, or Siegfried Line. A very difficult mission, the paratroopers were left on their own, as ground forces were late in arriving. Mr. Whidden was seriously wounded during the operation, which ultimately ended the war for him.

Mr. Whidden’s military stories are amazing, but equally entertaining are his many stories from childhood, teenage years, and life after the military. Mr. Whidden is one of very few living paratroopers who jumped into Normandy with the 82nd and/or 101st Airborne Divisions. He has written a book, ‘Between the Lines and Beyond: Letters of a 101st Airborne Paratrooper.’ There is even a commemorative action figure available in his likeness to honor the heroes of D-Day.

There are three parts to this episode: Episode 11A covers Mr. Whidden’s childhood, Army training, and several combat stories. Episode 11B covers his deployment to England and stories overseas. Episode 11C (this episode) covers the majority of his combat in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, his injury, and finally his journey home.

We have truly enjoyed getting to know Mr. Whidden over these past several years, and we hope you enjoy his stories as much as we did.

You can find all podcast episodes at: www.walkamongheroes.org/podcast.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send us an email at walkamongheroes@gmail.com.

A special 'thank you' to Shreyas Ganesh for donating his time as sound engineer.


Frank South

One of the men that landed with Colonel Rudder at the bottom of the cliffs at Pointe du hoc was Frank South, a medic in HQ company. For D-day the Rangers had been taken from their usual companies and placed over the various landing crafts. They were going to work wherever they were needed, regardless of company. The medics of the 2nd Bn had received the same training as all the other rangers, meaning that they were capable fighters that had medical knowledge beside their normal ranger training. South had had extensive training in treating the wounded in any way possible.He recalls: I had packed a huge mountain-pack with everything imaginable, from plasma to sulfathiazole powder. I carried this pack ashore with me. I also carried an expended aid pack that was issued to every medic.

Once I stepped of the ramp of the LCA that had taken us to the beach, I became immediately fully engaged by the wounded on the beach. This was my first time in combat, but I don't remember having fear. I was far to busy treating the wounded than thinking about anything else. Sometimes it was difficult to keep the seriously wounded from proceeding on. The beach was enfilated by machine-gunfire. Eventually this was knocked out by the rangers that had climbed the cliffs. However before the resistance was neutralized, the other medics and myself had a hard time protecting the wounded from getting wounded again. We placed all the wounded at the base of the cliff where they were safer. Once on the cliff, we the medics worked together to set up an aid station in an abandoned Anti-aircraft bunker. The staff officers of Colonel Rudder set the CP up in a shell crater, seaward of our aid post.

We worked together as a team of six medics in the aid station. There was one medical officer, two NCO's and three PFC's. At the cry of medic, one or more of us would go out into the field to retrieve the wounded. The men on the line had their own medics with them there at that time. Our medical supplies in the aid station where limited, but somehow we managed. On the second day we ran out of food. We did still have water, I can not recall where we got that, but it was there.

During one of the German counterattack, the Germans managed to penetrate our lines up to the perimeter of the aid station. At that point I took my brazzard of my arm, picked up my '45 went outside and helped to push the Germans back The brazzard with the red cross symbol was the only visible identification that you were a medic.

On the fourth day of the battle, the 116th Infantry Regiment broke through to us. They send for boats to pick up the wounded from the cliff. After the wounded had been evacuated, we the rest of the surviving rangers could leave the cliff. Mission accomplished.


Soldier Story: WWII 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION “Guy Whidden”

HEADGEAR
M-1C paratrooper helmet (metal)
M-1C helmet net cover
US airborne garrison cap
M5-11-7 assault gas mask
Gas mask filter
M-1944 dust goggles (clear lens)
M-1944 dust goggles (dark polarizing lens)

HEADSCULPT
WWII Guy Whidden, II life live head sculpt

BODY
S2.5 BODY
Weapon bare Hand (1 Pair)
Bendable bare Hand (1 Pair)
Bare Feet (1 Pair)

UNIFORM
GI wool shirt
M-1942 parachutist jacket
M-1942 parachutist pants
Corcoran jump boots (sewing leather)

FIELD GEAR
M-1936 suspenders
Shoulder pads
M-1938 riding gloves
M-1936 pistol belt
M-1910 canteen cover
M-1910 canteen (metal)
M-1910 canteen cup (metal)
M-1942 first aid pouch
M-1910 entrenching tool cover
M-1910 E tool entrenching tool shovel (metal)
M-1936 musette jump bag
Paratrooper rigger universal ammo pouch
TL-122 flashlight torch
M-1918 combat knife
M-1918 knife sheath
M-2 folding knife
M-2 grenade
M-1 ammunition carrying /w carrying strap
Paratrooper wrist compass (1944)
Model A-11 US military watch
Paratrooper cricket
MKII No75 “Hawkins Mine” (/w leg strap)
M-7 black rubberized gas mask bag
B-4 life vest (1943 dated)
Airborne let down rope
T-5 parachute main pack (/w harness)
T-5 reserve chest pack
Paratrooper leg bag

WEAPON
M1A1 carbine folding paratrooper stock (wood / metal)
M1 carbine sling
M1A1 10rd magazine x 4
M1A1 Scabbard (for M1A1 carbine folding stock)
M1911 .45 pistol
M1911 7rd magazine x 3
M-1916 pistol holster

FIGURE STAND
New design round classic figure stand /w exclusive Guy Whidden,II photo etch name plate


This WWII vet got a mohawk the night before D-Day. Now he’s doing it again to spread cheer during COVID-19

Guy Whidden has had his hair styled into a mohawk before — if only for a few hours.

While serving in World War II, many American troops shaved the sides of their heads to try to intimidate the Germans. Whidden followed suit the night before D-Day. He was the only one in his platoon who did, although he knew men in other platoons who had.

When his lieutenant saw it, he asked that he shave it off. He did.

So now, at 96, Whidden has a mohawk, thanks to a little help from his granddaughter Lydia Arshadi.

She helped him film a YouTube video of the process, which has since gained 70,000 views on Facebook. And no one&aposs asking him to shave this one off.

“A lot of people are going through a lot of problems with the [coronavirus], some of them are frightened, some of them are just concerned, and they&aposre locked in and it gets boring to a certain extent,” Whidden said. “I just thought this would add a little humor or something to the whole thing.”

Whidden has done a lot to keep the memories of his fallen comrades alive, from going to Normandy every year to jumping out of a plane on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. He was the only one of his squad that made it out of D-Day alive.

“We did it to inspire people to do it, as an homage and honor to his fallen comrades, and kind of thought it was funny so we videotaped it,” Arshadi said.

The video has been shared hundreds of times online, and Whidden and Arshadi have received dozens of photographs from people who have also cut their hair into a mohawk, many of whom are in the military themselves.

“I&aposve always been optimistic all of my life. A smile goes a long ways,” Whidden said. “So I thought that might create a little interest among my airborne friends, a lot of them who are currently airborne, not just the old timers like myself. I don&apost think any of them are interested in wearing a mohawk. But I’d like to.”


COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

5:28 | A week before D-Day, Paratrooper Guy Whidden's unit moved to a fenced in camp near the coast. The orders were shoot to kill anyone leaving. The food was good, too good if you really thought about it. On the day, he was sickened by the tobacco smoke and the stench on the plane over the Channel. It would be a relief to jump and get away from it.

More From Guy Whidden

Keywords : Guy Whidden paratrooper D-Day Normandy food Dwight D. Eisenhower Between the Lines and Beyond Airborne cigarette smoke Dramamine smell Sainte-Mere-Eglise

WWII

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 3:51

Guy Whidden wasn't too excited by the Boy Scouts, but he liked the National Guard. The maneuvers were fun and he had a job he liked, orderly to the Colonel. That was before a barnyard prank got him.

Guy Whidden | WWII | Multiple Units | 5:52

To Guy Whidden and his friends, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the onset of war was exciting. Told by a recruiter he could join the Air Corps, he noticed the train was getting mighty far South. He was in the infantry and, since he didn't really know what that was, he wasn't disappointed. After a couple of stops, he applied for jump school and went to Fort Benning in 1942.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 3:47

There were a lot of washouts in the first week of jump school, but Guy Whidden was not one of them. The athletic soldier was enjoying the whole thing, even being the first one out of the plane. He was ready to go to the war, but he had to wait for what seemed to him like a long time.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 5:23

Before he went overseas, Paratrooper Guy Whidden went on maneuvers in Tennessee. One day, he was assigned to guard four prisoners, chronically AWOL soldiers awaiting court martial. It was a long night and they were hungry, which led to a sad situation for the reluctant guard.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 3:01

It took a long time to get to England. The ship Guy Whidden had boarded was damaged, so he took a detour to Newfoundland. Finally, a new ship was brought, a British ship, complete with British food, of course. No one wanted to be in the bottom hold, which was knee deep with water.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 3:18

He was quartered on the grounds of a palatial estate west of London. Paratrooper Guy Whidden was able to go into town on leave, and unlike the rest, he sought out a good vantage point to watch the nightly German bombing. He kept getting busted to private because of a weakness for pretty girls, which made him late back to the base every time.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 5:01

Guy Whidden parachuted into Sainte-Mere-Eglise and as soon as he was on the ground, an equipment bundle landing at the same time hit him in the head and knocked him out. He was too dazed to find his "Cricket" to signal friendlies and this nearly got him shot. He hooked up with another Airborne unit because his own was nowhere to be found. It was absolute chaos and there were bullets flying everywhere.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 5:15

Pushing on after Normandy, Guy Whidden was in the Netherlands and surrounded by Germans. His unit took a pounding from mortars and shrapnel from a round hit his leg. As he treated himself, the barrage continued to take lives around him. Crawling from the field to a ditch, he was noticed and picked up by an officer who carried him to safety.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 3:42

With a bad leg wound, Guy Whidden began an odyssey through crowded aid stations and hospitals in the Netherlands and Belgium. When he realized he was in a queue for amputation, he put a hand on the Luger in his waistband and resolved not to let that happen.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 5:41

Guy Whidden had a Luger in his waistband which he almost used when the Army doctors were going to amputate his leg in Belgium. Here, he tells the story of how he acquired that Luger after having it pointed right at his forehead. This was one of the experiences that convinced him that his German enemies were very much like himself.

Guy Whidden | WWII | 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division | 4:40

He started walking and running with his wounded leg way before he was supposed to. Then, back in the States, he requested an assignment at Airborne school. The only problem, he had to qualify for the course to teach it. Looking back on the war, he draws solace from something he apparently didn't do.


Watch the video: Guy Whidden, 101st Airborne in WWII Full Interview