WWII veteran reflects on D-Day; prepares to celebrate 100th birthday

ATOKA, TN (WMC) - James Craig has seen history with his own eyes. In 1944, he was a part of D-Day, landing on Omaha Beach on the seventh day.

He still vividly remembers storming the beach. The Army veteran was manning a 50-caliber machine gun on the back of a truck when it almost got stuck in the water.

"I can still hear myself saying, 'Hal, give it hell, give it hell, give it hell!'" Craig said.

The journey into World War II started in North Africa for Craig, who was a tank mechanic with the 2nd Armored Division.

In the hall still hangs a map given to him by the Army.

"This means a whole lot to me right here," Craig said.

It shows his journey fighting the Nazis through France, Belgium, Holland and finally into Germany.

"War is hell," Craig said. "That's all you could say about it, war is hell."

During his time in Battle, Craig said he got to know the famous General George Patton very well. He still remembers the time General Patton caught him not saluting the flag.

"I saluted him you know, and he says, 'Corporal Craig, I thought you was a better bleep soldier than that.' And I don't know why I said what I said, but I said 'yes sir, I am!'" Craig said.

On Memorial Day, Craig thinks about all his friends that he lost both in battle and in the years since.

In August, he plans to celebrate his 100th birthday.

"The man upstairs has been good to this boy," Craig said.

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