STONE, Ky. – Over seven decades ago a 16-year old young man from McAndrews, Ky lost his life on the beach of Normandy while serving for the 6th Naval Beach Battalion as a medic. Virgil Mounts was by all accounts a hero; he became the youngest casualty of war on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Virgil had joined the military at the age of 15, by taking his brother’s driver’s license and using it as a form of identification.
The 6th Naval Beach Battalion corpsman provided triage and casualty evacuation for Army assault troops of the 1st Infantry Division at the Easy Red sector of Omaha Beach. The 6th Naval Beach Battalion is the precursor to today’s Beach-master Units.
The Invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Overlord was launched on June 6, 1944 and continued through mid July 1944. More than 156,000 landed on the beach in Normandy, France on D-Day and 10,000 casualties occurred over the course of the war. Initial forces came from Canada, Britain, the United States and Free French Forces. Weeks following the invasion they were joined by Polish Forces and contingents from Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia.
Recounting, the events of that dreadful day in 1944. Frank Walden, Mounts fellow medic, told The San Diego Union-Tribune in an interview in 2012, he and Mounts saw a shell explode near two Army personnel who were carrying a stretcher. When they went to treat the injured, another shell exploded, shrapnel tearing though Mounts’ body and hitting Walden, Mounts was killed instantly, Walden was hit in the arm, collarbone, back and leg.
Virgil was the son of Harrison and Louise Mounts of McAndrews, Ky. He attended McAndrews Grade School and like many young men back in those times decided he wanted to serve his country. Mounts had six siblings Lana, Earl, Eugene (who’s ID he had taken) Marie, Bill and Bobby, many of Virgil’s nieces, nephews and cousins are still in the Pond Creek and surrounding area, including Bruce May, son of the late Pauline May, who was Mounts’ first cousin. May contacted the Williamson Daily News thinking this would be a great story for our Memorial Day tributes.
(Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Gilbert Times and Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected])