Howard Boetcher

On Landing Boat During Invasion
Howard Boetcher, Seaman Second Class, son of Mrs. Vera Boetcher, 544 Balcom Street, participated in the first wave of the invasion of France, according to word received here. He was stationed on an LCT landing boat, which operated on the coast of France. Since the invasion, Boetcher has bagged two German rifles and a German sub-machine gun.

Entering the service in January 1943, he received his training at Great Lakes, IL and Treasure Island, CA. After serving in the South Pacific Theater of Operations, he was sent to England in February last. 

He was graduated from Eau Claire Senior High School in 1942. His brother, Charles, will leave Thursday for the Navy.

Howard Boetcher, Seaman First Class, and his brother, Private Charles Boetcher, have returned to their respective posts, after visiting their mother, Mrs. Vera Boetcher, 544 Balcom Street. Howard had taken part in the invasion of France.  He was on a 30-day leave here, following an appendicitis operation.  He is now at Norfolk, VA for reassignment.   Charles was home for 15 days during that time and is now at a port of embarkation.

Robert H. Bortle Tells of D-Day Landing on Normandy Beachhead
"We went in around noon on D-day and it took the Infantry 36 hours to reach the top of the hill with fierce fighting," Robert H. Bortle, Seaman Cook, Second Class, U.S. Navy, said during an interview today. Bortle is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Bortle, 413 Ninth Street, and was on an LCT, Amphibious Landing Craft, when France was invaded. 

He entered the Navy on February 15, 1943 and received his boot training at Great Lakes. He went overseas in April of this year and was in Wales and England before going to France.

"Opposition consisted of machine guns, rifle fire, and mortars," he said. "Our craft was marked by a ship already sunk behind us, but we escaped with only a few dents in the bow and no casualties."

He told of the rough fighting in the area where the landing craft, which he was serving on, put into shore because they were unlucky enough to draw the spot where concentrated German troops were holding maneuvers at that time.

Bortle was right on the coast of France for three months, unloading merchant ships under the British command. When he left the battle zone, it was "pretty much quieted down, except for shelling from a hidden gun for about an hour each night," he said.

"There were a few air raids which never amounted to much," Seaman Bortle added.

He told of seeing an Eau Claire boy after the invasion, while he was still in France, Howard Boetcher, who is serving on a LCT.

Bortle said he expected to go to the South Pacific area to serve aboard a LSM in the Amphibious Forces, when he leaves here, upon completion of his 20-day leave.