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Behind Enemy Lines

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Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

The derring-do of Richard Kersting ’42 in Normandy was recounted in a news account that sounds like something out of a John Wayne movie.

George M. Spencer

May - Jun 2019

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Lieutenant Richard Adam Kersting was a hero among heroes. A football player at Dartmouth, he enlisted in the Army in April 1942, joining the vast majority of his classmates to serve in WW II.

A combat engineer, Kersting and his unit landed on Omaha Beach in France on June 10, 1944—just after D-Day—and supported infantry troops fighting to liberate the strategic town of Saint-Lô. His incredible story was chronicled by The Philadelphia Inquirer on July 23, 1944. 

He told a reporter that he had not expected much action but was prepared, thanks to his Army and football training. He had received Ranger training and played blocking halfback under coach Earl “Red” Blaik at Dartmouth.

(Snip)

At about 4 o’clock on the after-noon of July 11, near the broken Normandy village of Cavigny during an American southward drive to Saint-Lô, two combat engineers appeared at a medical aid station with 34 Nazi soldier prisoners between them.

Nine more lay dead in the wrecked houses and the rubble-covered streets behind them. The German platoon headquarters, a virtual fortress, was wrecked. 

The senior Nazi officer, an ober lieutenant, turned to one of his captors and in good English said, “You’re mighty lucky to get away with this, you so-and-so,” and proceeded to curse him. 

For a reply, Lt. Richard Kersting of Oxford, Ohio, fetched the arrogant Hitlerite a swift kick in the seat of his breeches, a fitting conclusion to one of the most dramatic incidents of the war thus far in France.

(Snip)

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Both good movies... When i watched Behind Enemy Lines was when I first got my surround sound... I finally heard what i have been missing... i recommend seeing both.


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