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COL (Ret) Bruce Clarke
Phone: (785) 550-8653
E-mail: bbgclarke@aol.com
Website: www.brucebgclarke.com

Prepared Remarks by Colonel (Ret) Bruce B. G. Clarke at Point Dirillo,
Sicily 11 July 2008, the 65th anniversary of Operation Husky—The Invasion of Sicily

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today I join you not only as a former warrior, but as the son of a true warrior (LTC Arthur F.
Gorham), who gave his life while leading his airborne soldiers against a determined foe at the
beginning of the effort to rid Italy and Europe of the scourge of Fascism’s two evil dictatorships. I
am reminded of a saying that I had to learn while a cadet at West Point that is attributed to
General Douglas MacArthur—“There is no substitute for victory.” The brave men and women
from many countries who struggled with the foe here in Sicily 65 years ago as part of Operation
Husky knew what the sweet taste of victory would be.

The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign,
in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis (Italy and Nazi Germany). It was a coordinated large
scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of intense land combat. Husky
set the stage for launching the campaign to liberate the rest of Italy.

Husky began on the night of July 9, 1943, and ended August 17. It was the largest amphibious
operation of the war in terms of men landed on the beaches and of frontage. Strategically, Husky
achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners. The Allies drove Axis air and naval forces from
the island; the Mediterranean's sea lanes were opened and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was
toppled from power. It opened the way to the Allied invasion of Italy.

Extreme were the conditions: from the winds that blew to the fierce combat that ensued to the
extreme heroism that we are here today to honor.

The Allied land forces were mainly from the American, British, and Canadian armies. Other
countries also contributed to the air and naval forces for the invasion. The landings took place in
extremely strong wind, which made the landings difficult but also ensured the element of surprise.
Landings were made on the southern and eastern coasts of the island, with British forces in the
east and Americans towards the west.

Spearheading the sledgehammer blow to crack open Hitler's Festung Europa, for the first time,
would be paratroopers of the 505th Regiment of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division and glidermen
and parachutists of Britain's 1st Airborne Division. My father was one of those American
paratroopers

History was made by these brave men. It was the first nighttime mass parachute drop ever. It
was the first true test of combined military operations by a military coalition. At midnight on July
8, 1943 these men would leap into Sicily totally unaware that scores of German panzers were
lurking just inland in the darkness.

Strong winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) scattered aircraft widely off course, and half the
U.S. paratroopers failed to reach their rallying points. Those that did defeated several
counterattacks against the beachhead and thus insured the success of the landings.
The casualties on the Axis side totaled 29,000, with 140,000 (mostly Italians) captured. The U.S.
lost 2,237 killed and 6,544 wounded and captured; the British suffered 2,721 dead, and 10,122
wounded and captured; the Canadians suffered 2,410 casualties including 562 killed and 1,848
wounded and captured. One does NOT measure success by body count! But these casualties
are more than have been lost in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For many of the American forces and
for the entire Canadian contingent, this was their first time in combat. They had learned what it
meant to win on the battlefield against a determined foe.

Today the nature of warfare has changed. It is unclear what constitutes victory in the current
political climate in the eyes of the media. What is the taste of victory? We fight against terrorists
who know no rules of war and who want to deny us our freedoms. Very pertinent to today is what
Winston Churchill said in 1940 before the United States entered World War II “Victory at all
cost. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory no matter how long and how hard the road may
be; for without victory there is no survival.

As we contemplate the sacrifices made 65 years ago let us insure that these warriors’ lives
continue to be relevant in our search for freedom from the tyranny that terrorists would impose on
us. We as an international community must remember that for without victory there is no survival.
Those brave men and women of 65 years ago understood this—do we?

Let me close by reassuring those who gave their lives for freedom that we understand their
sacrifice by reciting The Absent Legions by - Edgar A. Guest

Somewhere, far away, they heard us
When the word of Victory stirred us.
Safe within God’s Holy keeping,
Heard us cheer and saw us weeping;
Shared in all we did or said—
Freedom’s glorious, youngest dead.

Never doubt it, there was gladness
Where the dead are done with madness,
Hate and hurt, and need for dying.
As they saw our banners flying
On our day of joyous pride,
“ ‘Twas for this,” said they,
“We died!”

What if tears our eyes had blinded,
As of them we were reminded?
Never doubt it, they were voicing
Somewhere, songs of great rejoicing;
Glad to look on earth and see
Safe our country, still, and free.

Thank you for the warm hospitality and we look forward to returning to Sicily sometime in the near
future.
Monument at Point Drillo, Sicily

THE NIGHT OF JULY 10, 1943 WAS WITNESS TO BLOODY COMBAT BETWEEN
THE 82nd AMERICAN AIRBORNE DIV. AND ITALIAN AND GERMAN TROOPS
EXTREME WERE THE LOSES SUPREME WAS THE HEROISM AND FROM THE
SACRIFICE OF THESE MEN IS CREATED THE NEW HISTORY
OF EUROPE
KILLED IN ACTION AT PONTE DIRILLO

Lt Col ARTHUR F. GORHAM Pfc HARRY C. DOWNEY
1st Lt KURT B. KLEE Pvt JOHN J. McGUIGAN
1st Lt JOHN D. SPRINKLE DAVID J. McKEOWN
Navy Ensign G.A. HULTON WILLIAM J. KERRIGAN
Sgt GERALD L. LUDLAM VERNON F. KNIGHT
Sgt TRAFFORD WILLIAMS PHILLIP V. PALMER
Sgt JOHN F. YEAGER STEPHEN W. VIDUMSKY
Cpl HOWARD S. OWENS Pvt RAYMOND E. FISKE
Cpl CHARLES F. CYMERYS Pvt JAMES T. BRADFORD
Cpl CORNELIUS J. MOYNIHAM Jr. Pvt ELDRIDGE V. HARBIN
Cpl WARREN LYONS Pvt JAMES D. HARRIS
Pfc THOMAS D. ADAMS Pvt DOMININC T. ANGELO
Pfc THOMAS PLAKA Pvt ALFRED GLASCOCK
Pfc GEORGE H. GOUSMAN Pvt CARROLL NEICE
Pfc AEOYSIUS BONCYK Pvt JAMES D. LONG
Pfc ARTHUR H. NOUSER Pvt WALTER M. BARNETT
Pfc HAROLD MYRHOW Pvt WALTER F. KISSAU
Pfc NOEL M. WHEALTON Pvt JOE BOOTHE
Pfc LELAND LAYE Pvt WILLIAM BLAKE
Pfc MICHAEL A. SCAMBELLURI