Norman Birbeck: World War II

For Norman Birbeck of Brunswick High School, the strike on Pearl Harbor in 1941 put him into a state of Patriotism to fight for the land he loves, and help those who couldn’t help themselves. However, enlisting right away did not seem very tasteful. Norman did not graduate until 1942, leaving him in high school during the attack. The times were hard, the times were scary, time was running out.
Being surrounded by constant headlines of ‘Hitler invades Poland!’ ‘German’s Resume Attack!’ built anger inside Americans such as Norman. Being in high school provided time to think about enlistment. The United States already had 12 million soldiers in the military, making it a toss up of whether one guy like Norman would make a difference, or even enlist for that matter. Yet, certain aspects made enlisting more tasteful. A poor economic structure in the states put fear in Norman, and the security of a military paycheck provided comfort within him knowing he had something to fall back on. Also, men who didn’t enlist out of fear, or made excuses would be considered traitors. No one wanted to be considered a traitor in the eyes of their country, so after putting all these questions into play, Norman made the patriotic decision to enlist.
He signed his life to the United States military on January 30th, 1943 and got assigned to the 343rd regiment of the 86th division infantry as a medical aid. Although Norman did not directly fight, he still lives on as a hero for the actions that were taken to save fellow soldiers. His life came to a heroic end as a German sniper struck him directly while helping an injured soldier off a bridge. Although Norman may not physically be here, his actions and spirit live on forever as a symbol of home town patriotism and love for the greatest country in the world, our own U.S.A.

Images

Enlistment

Enlistment

Norman Birbeck attended Brunswick High School and graduated in 1942. He entered the Army on January 30, 1943 and went overseas in February, 1945. He arrived at France on March 4th, 1945. Image Courtesy of World War II Poster Collection. View File Details Page

March

March

Once Norman arrived in France, his division moved into Koln, Germany in relief of the 8th Infantry Division. After patrolling the Rhineland for a short period of time, his division moved further into Germany. Image Courtesy of World War II Posters. View File Details Page

Ruhr Pocket Fighting

Ruhr Pocket Fighting

In a rapid offensive movement, the 86th Infantry Division moved through Germany, towards Ruhr. They took part in fighting the Nazis on the Western Front. Norman was helping an injured person from a bridge when a German Sniper shot him on April 12th, 1945. The initial shot didn't kill him but he was sent to an army hospital. Image Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. View File Details Page

End of Service

End of Service

Norman gave his life for the United States. After being hit by a German sniper, he was sent to an army hospital in France. He died from the wound 15 days later on April 27th, 1945. His family received news of his injury the day before he died. Image Courtesy of World War II Posters. View File Details Page

Coming Home

Coming Home

In May of 1945, after processing German prisoners of war,the 86th Infantry Division was deployed back to the United States. They arrived in New York on June 17th, 1945. After training at Camp Gruber, they left San Francisco August 24th, 1945 to go to the Philippines to process prisoners of war from Japan. Image Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. View File Details Page

Audio

Marching Through Germany

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Cite this Page:

Prince Singh
Jess Sency, “Norman Birbeck: World War II,” Discover Medina, accessed March 24, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/151.

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