m  a  r  k    e  r  i  c  k  s  o  n    p  a  i  n  t  i  n  g  s


Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson
Air Corps 1942 - 1945

Click to view Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson's complete thirty five 
mission list and twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses flown between
March 27th thru August 26th, 1944 out of Horham Airfield, England.


This 'Order of the Day' was issued by General Dwight D. Eisenhower to encourage Allied soldiers about to take part in the D-Day Invasion of Nazi occupied Europe on June 6th, 1944.

Almost immediately after France fell to the Nazis in 1940, the Allies planned a Channel crossing assault on the German occupying forces. It was code-named 'Operation Overlord.' By May 1944, close to three million Allied troops were amassed in southern England, training and awaiting for that day when they would cross the Channel.

It was the largest armada in history, made up of more than 4,000 American, British, and Canadian ships. The ships laid in wait and more that 1,200 planes stood ready. My father Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson flying aboard the 'Lili of the Lamplight' (44-6085) took off early on the 6th of June and completed a mission over Boulogne/Calais, France.

After their safe return to Horham, Lt. Erickson wrote this letter to his folks describing what he experienced that day. With these classic lines ending the letter:

"I now have 22 missions. Not bad! I imagine the papers are full of the Invasion? I got a pretty good view of it."


June 6th, 1944 Letter


Uncertain weather forecasts, disagreements in strategy, and related timing dilemmas, Eisenhower finally decided before dawn on June 5th to proceed with Overlord. Later that same afternoon, he scribbled a note intended for release, accepting responsibility for the decision to launch the invasion and full blame should the effort to create a beachhead on the Normandy coast fail.

A lot was riding on what would happen on June 6th and Eisenhower felt immense pressure for this decision. So many lives were at stake and the D-Day Invasion would begin the long slow haul to eventually crossing the Rhine. Then the daunting mission of entering into Hitler's Berlin for the final confrontation with the Germans, undoubtedly facing some of the elite combat soldiers left of the Reich.

Eisenhower's printed 'Order of the Day' for June 6th, 1944, which he had begun drafting earlier in the year was distributed to the 175,000-member expeditionary force on the eve of the invasion.

The text reads:

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

signed,
Dwight D. Eisenhower


Click to view a High Resolution image


Mark Erickson 2018 All rights reserved.

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