SS (USS) Empire Javelin Ensign from the Normandy Invasion....Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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D-Day "First to Land" Omaha Beach
SS (USS) Empire Javelin Ensign from the Normandy
The Empire Javelin was an (LSI) Landing Ship Infantry-Large that landed the 1st Battalion (Companies A, B, C, D) 116th Infantry, 29th Division on Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944, the first to land.
The flag of the Empire Javelin is an approximately 45" X 60" cotton bunting, Defiance brand, 48-star, double applique flag with sewn stripes and finished with a herder and grommets. The flag has a maker's mark on the upper obverse hoist and is marked on the reverse, "USS Javelin Rungee Museum 351." [NB: The ship was never officially the USS Javelin.]
The Empire Javelin, was C1-S-AY1 sub-type troop ship, although laid down as the SS Cape Lobos by the Consolidated Steel Corporation, Long Beach, CA. by the time of her launch in January of 1944 she had been redesignated an "Empire Ship;" or one of those ships that were part of a strategic plan to stem the considerable losses Britain was suffering to her fleets. Empire Ships were constructed, commandeered, contracted for or captured, but, regardless of the source all of the over 1,300 Empire Ships used the word "EMPIRE" in their names.
Although the SS Empire Javelin, was crewed by British merchant and reserve seaman and could have properly worn a Red Ensign, however, to avoid confusion on D-Day as a part of the Western Naval Task Force, Assault Force "O" she wore the "Stars and Stripes" as the USS Empire Javelin she was also the command ship for 551st Landing Craft Assault (LCA) Flotilla tasked with delivering the first wave to Omaha Beach. Company A landed at 6:36 A.M., the "First to Land."
Among the troops in the 1st Battalion that the Empire Javelin delivered to Omaha Beach were Company A, the "Bedford Boys," the name given to the thirty-four Virginia National Guard soldiers from the town of Bedford, VA, nineteen of whom would die on D-Day; Company B from Lynchburg; Company C of Harrisonburg and Co. D (Btn. HQ) from Roanoke.
After D-Day, the Empire Javelin continued delivering troops to France until she was torpedoed on 28 December 1944 in the English Channel.
Flags used on D-Day are highly sought by serious collectors, and this flag would be appropriate for an advanced D-Day collector.
The flag is in Fair condition, it is used, worn soiled and torn with frayed fly corners and several holes along the vertical centerline of the flag. The upper hoist grommet is missing.
This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.
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