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"We dashed ashore and as a machine gun burst overhead I hit the sand. I looked to my left at the man laying next to me and I found he was dead." (Letter from Preston Bagent to his wife Carol, "Darling," 5/18/1945)

   Preston Earl Bagent
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Preston Bagent in camp at Omaha Beach, France [1944]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 149th Engineer Combat Battalion
Service Location: Camp McCain, Mississippi; Camp Pickett, Virginia; Normandy, France; Belgium; Germany; European Theater
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Staff Sergeant Preston Earl Bagent worked as a draftsman and artist before joining the Army in 1943. The military made good use of his engineering skills, assigning him to the newly-created 149th Engineer Combat Battalion. After his transfer overseas and training in England, he got his "first taste of combat" on June 6, 1944. Bagent later documented his harrowing journey from his landing craft to Omaha Beach in an evocative series of drawings and letters to his wife. Following D-Day, his unit traveled from France to Belgium, Holland, and Germany, fixing roads and building bridges.

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 Personal Correspondence
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»D-Day: 75th Anniversary
 Official Documents (3 items)
Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge Separation Qualification Record
  
 Personal Correspondence (17 items)
Letter to "Darling" [5/15/1945] Letter to "Darling" [1/11/1944] Letter to "Darling" [10/10/1944]
Letter to "Darling" [6/24/1944] Letter to "Darling" [5/17/1945] Letter to "Darling" [5/18/1945]
Letter to "Darling" [5/18/1945] Letter to "Darling" [5/22/1945] Fragment of letter [n.d.]
Letter to "Darling" [4/8/1945] Letter to "Darling" [5/2/1945] Letter to "Darling" [5/27/1945]
Letter to "Darling" [8/8/1945] Letter to "Darling" [10/16/1945] Letter to "Darling" [10/22/1945]
Letter to "Darling" [10/27/1945] Typewritten letter to Carol [11/4/1945] 
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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