Theolus “B” Wells

Orangeburg, South Carolina

On June 6, 1944, Theolus Wells – everyone called him “B” – shared a foxhole on Utah Beach that was so deep, Wells could barely haul all six-foot-two-inches of himself out of it. During his time in Britain training for the invasion, Wells had sometimes been mistaken for the heavyweight champ Joe Louis. On the morning of D-Day, Wells, age 21, said he “didn’t have enough sense to be scared.” He watched as a plane was hit by fire and the pilot jumped. “I’m an American!” the flyer yelled repeatedly as he parachuted to the beach. He died on July 16, 2018. 

   
  
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   Theolus Wells, known as “B”, said he was too young to have enough sense to be scared on Utah Beach. He landed on D-Day. 

Theolus Wells, known as “B”, said he was too young to have enough sense to be scared on Utah Beach. He landed on D-Day. 

   
  
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   Theolus Wells at home in 2011.     Photo: Linda Hervieux

Theolus Wells at home in 2011.
Photo: Linda Hervieux

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Floyd Siler

Bennett, North Carolina

Floyd Siler landed with the 320th on Utah Beach on D-Day. He would never forget it the horrors he saw that morning. “The beach was covered with dead soldiers and you were stepping over them to get to dry ground,” he said.  Siler endured vicious racism during the war but growing up in North Carolina, his best friend was a white boy.

Floyd Siler in 2011
Photo: Linda Hervieux

After the war, Floyd Siler trained as a tailor under the GI Bill but found it difficult to find a job. He retrained and and spent his career working as an fire alarm specialist for the Secretary of State’s Office in Washington, D.C. until his retirement in 1982.
Photo: Courtesy of the Siler family

Floyd and Helen Gill Siler were married for 48 years. They raised four children in Washington, D.C., before moving back to High Point, North Carolina in 1991.
Photo: Courtesy of the Siler family

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Grant Gordon

 Grant Gordon  Photo: Courtesy of Geoff Gordon

Grant Gordon
Photo: Courtesy of Geoff Gordon

PONTATOC, MISSISSIPPI

First Lt. Grant Gordon of the 320th was the only African American in his officer training class. Limited by quotas and shut out of the top ranks, black officers had no choice but to accept the Army’s Jim Crow system. He was 27 years old when he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day with 70 men under his command. "We were all scared," he said 50 years after the invasion. After the war, Gordon settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he and his wife, Lucinda, raised two children. He was the first African American school principal in the city's public schools, where he worked for 35 years. He was active in the NAACP and the Urban League. He died in 2003 at age 86.

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