Louisiana Squadron Hosts D-day Veteran
Judd Dukes, a veteran of D-day, celebrated his 96th birthday three days early with the Capitol City Composite Squadron during a visit Jan. 30 that featured his recollections of the Normandy invasion and other wartime experiences.
Dukes spoke with the squadron’s cadets about his service on D-day and throughout World War He was 17 when he went ashore in the third wave at Omaha Beach.
The young infantryman carried a Browning Automatic Rifle – much heavier than the standard- issue rifle used by infantry. A high rate of fire made it a lethal weapon, often targeted by enemy forces.
By the end of the war Dukes’ unit had advanced into Austria, south of Berlin.
After an often humorous presentation that had the crowd laughing throughout his talk, he answered numerous questions from the audience.
Like many World War II veterans, Dukes had to wait for some time to be returned to the States after the war because of a shortage of ships.
“For our cadets, this may be the only time they will ever have the opportunity to meet someone who actually participated in D-day at Normandy and hear his story live and in person,” said 1st Lt. Barry Hugghins, the Capitol City squadron’s commander.
“I do something special for Judd every year on his birthday as my ‘thank you’ for his courage and his service,” Hugghins said.
Capt. Ken Best
Public Affairs Officer
Capitol City Composite Squadron