06JUN1944: Commanding F Company, 2-8 Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division, CPT Leonard Shroeder had long been preparing for the eventual assault on fortress Europe. His battalion was tasked with leading the first wave onto Utah Beach, one of five key beaches of Operation Overlord.
Making their way across the English Channel, Shroeder and his men climbed down into their assault craft in the dark morning hours of June 6th. As the naval and air bombardment finished, Shroeder's craft made a beeline for shore and at 6:28 a.m., two minutes ahead of schedule, his craft was the first to disembark on Utah Beach.
Dropped with over 100 yards of water to wade through before dry land, Shroeder held his weapons high and charged ahead, moving as quickly as possible under enemy fire. By the time he reached the sand, Schroeder was the first Allied Soldier to come ashore on D-Day.
Leading from the front all morning, Shroeder was shot twice in the left arm but he didn't realize it until much later when he nearly passed out from blood loss. He was evacuated for treatment and would survive the war.
Shroeder went on to serve in the Army for 30 years, retiring in 1971 at the rank of Colonel.