Among the thousands of soldiers who stormed the beaches in Normandy on June 6, 1944, was a young man from Monroe County. Chester Schafer, far from his peaceful home in the hills of Ohio Township, was taking part in an effort that would change the history of the world. That moment in time was D-Day of World War II.
Chester was a part of 4th U. S. Army Division, 22nd Infantry Unit, 29th Field Artillery. The artillery batteries supported the infantry divisions in action. Chester was in the Gun Battery Computer and Fire Direction Center (FDC) and was responsible for determining the angles of the guns.
After landing at Utah Beach, the 4th Infantry was to meet with Air Force paratroopers and gliders, which had landed earlier near the town of St. Mere Eglise. From there, the combined forces would travel to Cherbourg, where they met other American troops. After a successful attack, the town and ports of Cherbourg were secured by the Allies. From this point, Chester's unit began the march to Paris, encountering several battles along the way. His unit was the first Allied force through Paris. The American forces continued eastward, but the French force, which had traveled with them, stayed in Paris and took credit for the liberation.
Chester was involved in another momentous battle--the Battle of the Bulge. Many historians argue this battle was the greatest battle in American military history. It was Hitler's last attempt to reverse the Allies' success by launching a counterattack. Often fighting through deep snowdrifts, the Americans managed to put down the German attack.