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On the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, Richard Fazzio looks back on his narrow escape

June 5, 2014

Richard Fazzio, a veteran of the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, recalls the battle at his Mowry Street home.

WOONSOCKET -- Richard Fazzio has told his story of surviving the first wave of landings at Omaha Beach more times than he can count, as the 70th anniversary of that day is marked.

The 89-year-old resident of Mowry Street was there at the very first moments of the frightening and deadly beginning to the invasion of Nazi-held Europe.

Fazzio was the coxswain, or driver, of a Higgins boat, a landing craft designed to carry soldiers from a ship to a beachhead and set them on the way with the dropping of the ramp covering the bow of the boat.

Fazzio’s boat crew – comprising himself along with Wally Lawton of Cumberland, Gabriel Balis and Robert Brien – was assigned to the U.S.S. Henrico (APA 45) transport ship and left for Normandy on June 5, only to be diverted back to Portsmouth, England, by bad weather. As June 6 arrived, the ship again headed for Normandy and this time took up a position off the coast where Fazzio’s crew oversaw the loading the boat’s allotment of 40 men and their equipment.

For full story and photos, see Friday's print edition of The Call.

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