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The Normandy American Heroes Blog

World War Two, Normandy and More

American Hero: Richard D. Fravel of the 82nd Airborne Division Sacrificed A leg for His Country

Posted by Rodolphe Passera on May 22, 2018 9:30:00 AM

 

 

In March 1942, Richard "Dick" Fravel, 22 years old, decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. His 3 brothers, James, Allen, and Walter also joined the Army.

Before enlisting, Dick was worried; he met with his pastor to talk with him about the issue of shooting at another human being. After this decisive discussion, Dick Fravel began his army training.

He started at Fort Bragg, NC and joined the 82nd Airborne at Camp Claiborne, LA, where he continued his hard training. He was assigned to the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment later that year and sent to England.

In 1943, Dick was near Naples, Italy and engaged in heavy fighting. He covered the retreat of his platoon after they were attacked by the Germans. For this act, Dick won the Silver Star on October 18th, 1943 which was given to him by Major General Ridgway (Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division).

 

 

Newspaper clipping Sunbury Ohio, about Dick's Silver Star.

After the battle for Naples, Dick and his comrades were sent back to England. On June 7th, they flew across the English Channel to support the Normandy Invasion. His glider was damaged by the German flak and crashed into a tree. Again, Dick covered the retreat of his crew and received the Bronze Star.

 

Dick took part in the Invasion of Netherlands (Operation Market Garden) and was wounded in action on September 22nd. Dick stepped on a land mine, receiving serious injuries to his leg. He used his belt as a tourniquet and waited for help for 3 long hours. The injury necessitated amputation of his leg between his knee and ankle. Dick received the Purple Heart.

 

 

Newspaper clipping about Dick's wounds in Holland

Dick was 20 month overseas with the 82nd Airborne 325th GIR. He died on March 25th 1998, a retired mechanic for the Westerville City Schools.

 

 

This grouping belonged to Dick Fravel, the 82nd Airborne "All American" booklet was given to all the soldiers after the war.

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