This flag was carried on one of the first vessels into combat at sunrise on D-Day.
LCT-595, along with three other Landing Craft, Tank amphibious assault vessels, were assigned to deliver American Army swimming tanks to locations approximately 5,000 yards off Utah Beach (Tare Green Sector) at 0630 on June 6, 1944. As they approached, Army Air Forces medium bombers hit the shoreline, blasting smoke and debris into the air.
Nearing their appointed location to launch the tanks, a Landing Craft Control vessel signaled for the LCTs to move in closer to the beach. A craft alongside 595, LCT number 593, exploded after hitting a German mine. A witness later wrote, “I can still see a tank turning end-over-end what seemed to me at least 100 feet in the air.”
As the surviving LCTs moved forward, German machine gun fire intensified and Allied naval ships began to fire thundering salvos in return. The remaining LCTs delivered their tanks about 900 yards from the shoreline under heavy gunfire. On Utah Beach, 27 of the 32 tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion were able to land some 2,000 yards from their planned attack point.
After the attack, LCT-595’s captain told US Navy Boatswain George Edward Rudisill to remove the tattered flag and fly a new full one. Rudisill asked to keep the battle-worn remains of the original D-Day flag. He preserved keepsake in a shoebox, along with the only known photograph of the LCT-595.