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Normandy Scholars at the National Archives

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Tuesday was the most intensive day so far for the 2012 National History Day Normandy Scholars. The National Archives held a research day for the group of fifteen students and their teachers. The students viewed documents related to the individual soldiers they have chosen to honor in the Normandy American Cemetery.

The National Archives pulled documents related to the initial waves of the invasion, the efforts to build supply networks throughout Normandy, the push to secure Cherbourg, and the break out. Students viewed military maps, textual documents, and photographs to gain insight into the training, planning, and conduct of the Battle of Normandy.

Two students found their soldiers’ names listed in the records of a temporary cemetery in Ste Mere Eglise. Ruben Tellez, being honored by Tiffany Shumack of San Diego, and John P. Ray, being honored by Kalie Indest of New Orleans, were temporarily interned at this cemetery before being transferred to the Normandy American Cemetery. The discovery of these names helped bring a closer bond between the soldier and the student.

Samantha Fletcher from Toledo, Ohio chose to honor a sailor. She will eulogize Joseph Vanasky, Jr. a motor machinist’s mate on the USS Osprey who was killed in action on June 5, 1944. At the Archives, Samantha found the deck logs from the ship and noticed the value of studying an original document.


Samantha discusses her experience in the video below:

The Normandy Scholars will return to George Washington University on Wednesday morning for presentations by scholars and a session on high school yearbooks during World War II.

This post by Louisiana History Day Coordinator Nathan Huegen.


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