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Old 04-03-2013, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,878 posts, read 7,911,232 times
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While he figured prominently in several major incidents during the invasion of the European Mainland in World war II, Norman D. Cota is, with one other exception (George Armstrong Custer) the Amercan field Commander most commemorated, and the most controversial in relation to his rank -- Major (2 star) General

Cota was a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of West Point -- Class of 1917, played football with Dwight Eisenhower (2 years his senior) and was graduated early due to the World War I effort. Unlike Eisenhower, with whom he retained a long friendship, Cota saw action in the trenches, but after two field promotions, was deemed more valuable as an instructor and returned stateside.

On D-Day, Cota landed in an early wave on Omaha Beach, and is remembered in part for his commment "Gentlemen, we are being killed on the beaches. Lets go inland and be killed." Cota's actions as Assistant Commander of the 29th (Blue and Gray -- Maryland & Virginia Army National Guard) Division were documented in Walter Lord's book The Longest Day, and he was portrayed by Robert Mitchum in the 1964 film adaptation.

Cota's valor earned him a promotion to command of a complete division -- the 28th, which is organized around the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His actions in attempting to reorganize a division with a lackluster performance up to that point apparently were viewed favorably by his superiors, who chose the 28th to lead the ceremonial parade upon the liberation of Paris, but several months later, a few days before the outbreak that was to be called the Battle of the Bulge, the 28th was severely mauled in a region known as the Hurtgen Forest. The red keystone disvisional insigna worn by the unit earned it the name of the "Bucket of Blood" from the Germans, but the operation failerd to meet its objectives and sustained heavy casualties, and Cota's reputation was sullied

Cota was also recaled for his involvement in a more contoversial incident -- the court-martial and execution of Eddie Slovik, the only GI shot for desertion in World War II. Slovik had a record of petty crimnality in civillian life, and had the poor judgement to stae in publichhis willingness to desert, but contrary to Hollywood distortion, did not participate directly in the court-martial, but merely reviewed the sentence.

Cota's carrer ended with hie resignation from the service not long after the close of hostilities. He was to live for another 25 years, and had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but his actions remain the focus of controversy even within the division with which he assumed the highest level of command.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 04-03-2013 at 05:32 AM..
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