Normandy Landing of Omaha and Utah

Army Specialist Gayle Eyler

Army Specialist Gayle Eyler

On this day 70 years ago during World War II, the Normandy amphibious landings occurred. The invasion marked the beginning of the campaign to free Western Europe from Nazi occupation by using a combination of air, sea, and ground-based attacks.

Part of the main focus in the initial stage of the campaign was the control of five key sections of the Normandy coast identified as Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold, and Sword. The United States focused on the Omaha and Utah beaches, while Canadian and United Kingdom forces concentrated on the others. The eventual success of the campaign freed the French Republic from Nazi control and was a significant victory for Allied forces.

In the planning stages of the initial attack, U.S. General Omar Bradley may have received the idea to name the U.S. landing areas from a unique source. In a collection of notes recently discovered by USPS Supervisor Eric Korus among his father’s possessions, Army Carpenter Gayle Eyler identified himself and a colleague as having helped Bradley with the idea for the Omaha and Utah names.

During their morning strategy sessions, Bradley would often have coffee with other high-ranking officers. According to Eyler’s notes, both he and a fellow carpenter were occasionally invited to join these meetings. It was during one such occasion that a discussion of the carpenters’ hometowns surfaced. Later on in a subsequent meeting when officers discussed possible names for the U.S. landing areas in Normandy, Bradley suggested Omaha and Utah in honor of his carpenters.

Though corroboration of Eyler’s account of the beach naming process hasn’t been officially confirmed, many other portions of his notes have proven to be historically accurate.

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