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    Among the First to Land - B Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Regiment, 29th Division

    D-Day Unit Company Color.
    Company B of the 116th Infantry Regiment, among the first to land at D-Day, was a federalized National Guard unit from the Commonwealth of Virginia and was a component of the oldest unit in continuous Virginia service, having been organized on 3 November 1741. Most of the men hailed from Amhurst, Bedford and Campbell counties. Perhaps their most poignant remembrance is at the National D-Day Memorial in nearby Bedford, Virginia which, in part, reads: "Think not only upon their passing. Remember the glory of their spirit."

    Capt. Ettore V. Zappacosta was the company commander. His assignment was the Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach. He was to land in support of Company A, the first to land. Company B, along with the rest of the 1st Battalion, disembarked from the SS (USS) Empire Javelin (see related items in this auction) in the pre-dawn darkness into six LCAs (Landing Craft Infantry). In support of A Company, B Company was to land in the 2nd wave on Dog Green. In the smoke and confusion of battle, the landing crafts failed to pick up any landmarks, scattered badly and then beached on a front of nearly a mile wide. When they made it to Dog Green at H+26, they suffered the same fate that had wrecked A Company, the concentrated fire of the opposing German division, and the assault became an effort for survival at the water's edge. Eventually elements of Company B moved inland and did reach Vierville, their objective but, by the end of the day, only 28 men, out of over 200, remained unscathed.

    After D-Day, the regiment was placed in reserve to reorganize and recover its D-Day losses. Company B was at St. Lo, Operation Cobra - The Breakout from Normandy and the capture of Brest. They moved with the rest of the regiment against the Siegfried Line but went on the defensive during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1945, they entered Germany, helped reduce the Ruhr Pocket and celebrated when Germany surrendered. They returned home in January of 1946.

    This privately-acquired company color is an approximately 45" X 74" rayon taffeta U.S. flag with embroidered stars and sewn stripes, finished on three sides with 2" golden yellow rayon fringe, and finished with pole hem lined sleeve with leather tabs. The flag bears a maker's label, "Glory Gloss Celanese." The flag is marked on the reverse hoist, "29th DIV 116th 1st OMAHA IEN," to which was added "B Co."

    Individual US infantry companies were not issued national colors in WWII. However, Company B was a National Guard company, and individual companies often had a U.S. color when they paraded as a unit locally. These were acquired privately and carried to war as unofficial flags. Equipment like this would have been landed with the battalion's command and headquarters baggage (Company D.) This flag is a unit-specific flag for the advanced D-Day collector.

    During WWII, Company B earned the following awards: US Army Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY; American Defense Medal; American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three campaign stars for Normandy (with arrowhead); Northern France; Rhineland and Central Europe; French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered BEACHES OF NORMANDY.

    The flag is in Good Condition - it is used, worn and faded.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 688

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