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Local Veteran Recalls His War Memories - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Local Veteran Recalls His War Memories

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On this day 70 years ago, more than 150,000 allied soldiers stormed the beaches or parachuted into Normandy, France, in the largest invasion in history. At least 4,400 allied troops were killed the first day, as they moved to crack Hitler's western front. The D-day invasion marked a turning point in World War II and many died in the three-month battle of Normandy, but there were also other beach battles going on around Europe. Valley News Team's Ashley Bishop sat down with one local veteran to share his experiences on this historic day.

Sixteen-million Americans served in World War II. In North Dakota, it is estimated just over 2,000 veterans from World War II are still alive. Meet one of the many men that proudly served: 88-year old Conrad Newgren.

"I tell people that I went to Italy for my 19th birthday, but I had to shoot my way in," says Newgren.  

He was drafted into the army in 1943 and stormed the Anzio Beach in Italy.

"Five American divisions landed on Anzio beach against 13 German divisions," says Newgren.

That fight was two days prior to D-day, they lost 6,000 out of 15,000 men in the Third Infantry Division. Newgren says his division was originally supposed to help take pressure off the D-day invasion.

"The plan were to invade southern France the same day they hit Normandy to take the pressure off of Normandy, but thing got so fouled up in Italy we didn't hit southern France until August 15, 1944," explains Newgren.

He served 18 months in the war and never wanted to return to europe.

"I had a chance a year ago for an all expense trip to the battlefields of Europe... I said no thanks I already seen them... I had no desire (to go back),"   

Newgren traveled through four countries ( Italy, France, Germany and Austria) and helped liberate a concentration camp, came down with malaria, broke his back and almost became a prisoner of war.

"I thought we were doing the best we can to save live and liberate people," says Newgren.

Though most would consider him one, Newgren does not consider himself a hero.

"I say I am not a hero, the heros are still over there 6 feet under... just doing my job the best I could."

Newgren received multiple honors including the purple heart and cross of war.
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