Smithfield man, D-Day veteran returns to Normandy

Ernie Corvese

Ernie Corvese was just 18 years old when he landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy 70 years ago, but he describes the day as clearly as if it were yesterday.

"What happened - that I don't forget," Corvese said. "Never. I don't think I'll ever forget it."

The front room of his house in Smithfield is now scattered with posters from family members welcoming him home from his trip to Normandy. It was the first time he had been back since D-Day.

"It was emotional, very emotional," Corvese said. "I never wanted to go back. Once was enough."

He was the only person in his crew of eight men to survive that day. He said he almost drowned under the weight of the equipment he was carrying. But someone pulled him out of the water. To this day, he said, he doesn't know who it was.

For Corvese, 70 years have passed, but the emotion hasn't faded.

"What they did, what we did with the guys there," Corvese said. "Give them credit."

Still, he says he's no hero. He just wants people to remember what happened on a day he'll never forget.