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Greece veteran recalls D-Day invasion
GREECE, N.Y. -- Army Staff Sergeant Chester Chet Palinski stepped off a landing craft at Omaha Beach in Normandy, just days after more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the French coastline as part of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.
Palinski was assigned to a supply unit responsible for sorting through the clothing and belongings of the approximately 2,000 soldiers who paid the ultimate price at Omaha.
We lost a lot more than I thought we would, Palinski said.
In total, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded in the invasion.
Palinski said the Germans tried to bomb his unit when they realized it was responsible for resupplying American troops. While in France, Palinski and his men captured German prisoners of war, liberated towns and even hid in the woods for three days to avoid capture during July 1944.
At 90 years old, he lives just one block away from the American Legion in Greece. The flag on his duplex marks the home of a veteran who has seen more than most do in a lifetime.
It was a scary time, many times. We could hear the bomb blasts and the firing all the time, he said. Ive never sat down and talked in depth about it to anybody.
Both Palinski and his wife Agnes lost their first spouses before finding love again at more than 70 years old. There are 25 great grandchildren between the two of them.
Palinski still drives a car, something that reminds him of younger times as a business manager at a local car dealership in the late 40s. The pray for our troops sticker on his rear passenger door reminds him of the sacrifice made by thousands of soldiers seven decades ago.