PHOTO: D-Day Veteran Honors the Fallen


Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr., an 89-year-old World War II veteran from Horsham, Pennsylvania, salutes the gravesite of Pfc. Richard Vargas during a wreath laying ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France on June 2nd, 2014. Both Cruise and Vargas served as paratroopers with H Co., 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne, and were part of the airborne assault during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The next day, while members of the 82nd Airborne tried to secure a roadblock, Vargas was fatally struck by a mortar shell. Cruise was inches from him when the shell exploded but was unharmed. He moved Vargas to cover and provided care to his fallen comrade until the field medic arrived. Later that day, Cruise learned that Vargas had died en route to the aid station. (Photo by Brandon Beach, 21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

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