Freedom Fighters: Ed Snow, pt. 1 - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Ed Snow, pt. 1

Ed Snow. (Source: KLTV) Ed Snow. (Source: KLTV)

An argument with his girlfriend and paratroopers' sharp looking uniforms were what convinced 17-year-old Ed Snow to join the Army paratroopers in World War II.

"So I decided if I was going to go in I was going to look good so I went into the paratroopers," says Snow.

Before Snow would get out of his teens, he would have made two of the most historic jumps in history.

"At that time, I was 18-years-old," says Snow.

On June 6, 1944, the U.S. and its allies launched the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on a 50 mile stretch of the Normandy coast, divided into five areas: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Snow was among the paratroopers making way for the Normandy landings.

"We had jumped at 1:15 in the morning and they hit the beaches a little after six in the morning," says Snow.

Snow landed 22 miles inland but met stiff resistance from the heavily entrenched German Army.

"We were the first ones on the land we had to hold them until the beaches were secured."

Holding back the massive German Army proved to be difficult.

"We lost 37 percent at least. They said around 37 percent of all of us that jumped were wounded or killed before they ever his the ground."

Heavy fog did little to protect the paratroopers as they floated down through machine gun and anti-aircraft fire.

Operation Market Garden was to be Snow's next big jump. Only three months later. It was British General Bernard Montgomery's plan to get the British Second Army and the British Armed Guards armored division into the lower Rhine Valley of the Netherlands.

The failure of the operation was said to be a number of things, German opposition which outmanned American and British troops, Allied paratroopers lack of weaponry and miscommunication between British and American troops.

"It was the heaviest loss we had except for the bulge," says Snow.

Ed Snow remained in the Army paratroopers after World War II ended. Although he had been wounded several times, he insists they were just scratches. But that was to change during the Korean War, and that's the story we'll bring you next week.

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