Reservist

ISS3 2018

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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RESERVIST MAGAZINE A LIGHT ON YESTERYEAR Quentin Walsh D-Day planner and liberator of Cherbourg Story by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Historian, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Coast Guard officer Quentin Robert Walsh experienced one of the most colorful careers in the history of the Coast Guard. A native of Groton, Conn., Walsh grew up just across the Thames River from the Coast Guard Academy in New London. Aggressive by nature, Walsh established himself as a leader while attending the Academy. He was a fine athlete and a standout boxer, serving as co-captain of the Academy's boxing team. His tenacity would serve him well in Normandy during the D-Day invasion. Just prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, Walsh received a variety of war-related assignments. He served as navigator and gunnery officer on board the 327-foot Coast Guard Cutter Campbell while the cutter convoyed merchantmen across the North Atlantic as part of the American Neutrality Patrols. During Walsh's assignment, Campbell also served on the Lisbon station to protect U.S. citizens in Portugal, threatened at the time by the spread of war in Europe. In November 1941, Walsh received orders to the famous Coast Guard-manned troop transport Joseph T. Dickman , ferrying British troops from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Mumbai, India. The Dickman also supported amphibious training with Marines on the North Carolina coast and landed U.S. troops at Cuba, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. Walsh left the Dickman in September 1942, and, after less than a year in the States, he received orders to the staff of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, London. As a member of the Naval Forces staff, Walsh gained full knowledge of Phase Neptune, the amphibious operation associated with Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Europe. This landing would prove the largest amphibious operation in world history and Walsh had to formulate plans to restore operations in liberated French ports to expedite re-supply of Allied armies by ship. In addition to planning post D-Day port operations, Walsh received orders to form a unit to carry out his plans. His extensive naval background and leadership ability served him well as he formed Navy Task Unit 127.2.8 with fifty men from the Navy's Construction Battalion units. Sea Bees were the best possible choice for Walsh's mission, because they came equipped German prisoners march out of surrendered Cherbourg under American Army guard. U.S. Navy photo 32 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2018

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