B-26 Marauder bomber pilot First Lieutenant Carl Oliver of Sacramento

From 1944: Sacramentan is pilot of bomber on big assault

Published: Friday, Jun. 6, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 6, 2014 - 8:47 am

On the front page on D-Day, The Bee ran a column by United Press writer Collie Small about the bomber-eye view of the invasion as seen by Sacramento pilot Carl Oliver.

We tried to find out what happened to both since then, with little luck. Public records indicate that Oliver has died. And, though there’s no record we could find of Small’s death, he would be 97 if still alive.

Below is an excerpt of the column:

WITH A MARAUDER FORMATION OVER THE INVASION COAST, June 6 – (UP) – No Man’s Land is 5,000 feet below.

It’s something between the gray, channel washed beaches on which Allied troops are swarming from their landing barges and the brown fields beyond. The wink of gun flashes in the half light of dawn in those fields came from Germans fighting the invasion.

My aerial grandstand seat is in a Marauder [B-26 medium bomber] piloted by First Lieutenant Carl Oliver of Sacramento, Calif., a part of the unending stream of Allied aircraft, ranging from fighters to heavies, which is streaming across the channel to support the infantry assault.

Five thousand feet is one of the lowest altitudes the medium bombers ever have bombed from in this theater, but we chance the German flak to pinpoint our targets.

As we wheel off the targets and streak back toward the channel, dawn streaks the eastern sky. Peering down I can see our troops scrambling ashore under a canopy of shells hurled over their heads by warships in a harbor that dents the shoreline.

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