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  • Laci Barry Post

Our Navy Coxswain



A Navy Coxswain - that was my grandfather Paul Green’s title during World War II. He served on the Pacific front but, fortunately, never saw battle. Stationed in the Marshall Islands, he ferried bomber planes between the land and aircraft carriers.


With the recent 80th Anniversary of D-Day, I decided to research and find out more about what my granddaddy did for the Navy during World War II. A coxswain pilots a landing boat and delivers troops and supplies to and from a beach area. On D-Day and many other battles, this was a dangerous task under constant fire.


The landing boats were called Higgins boats, as they were manufactured by Higgins Industries in New Orleans, Louisiana. The boats were specially designed, amphibious boats capable of delivering troops and equipment safely and efficiently from ship to shore, which eliminated the need for conventional harbors. The most popular of the Higgins boats were the LCVP, which meant they were used for Land Craft, Vehicle, and Personnel. Of the more than 20,000 boats produced during the war by Higgins Industries, 12,500 of them were LCVPs. You can learn more about Higgins boats from the Naval History and Heritage Command at https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/exploration-and-innovation/higgins-boats.html.

Joe Crain and Marvin Perrett were both certified LCVP Coxswains on D-Day. Marvin carried 36 assault troops on his boat and recalls circling the waters in complete darkness. Joe was also there on D-Day serving at Omaha Beach. He recalls the rough sea and the constant barrage by German soldiers. Their job is often not one we think about, but one that was greatly needed for a successful operation. You can learn more about Joe from The National World War II Museum at https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/joe-crain-us-navy-lcvp-coxswain. You can learn more about Marvin from the US Coast Guard at https://www.mycg.uscg.mil/News/Article/3174255/the-long-blue-line-the-life-and-times-of-marvin-perrettportrait-of-a-world-war/.


Now, I know more about what my grandfather’s title during World War II meant. A big thank you to him, Joe, Marvin, and all the other coxswains!                     

           

“With the elation of D-Day, the capture of Rome, and Allied advancements, everyone hoped the war would be over by Christmas and that families would be reunited for holiday festivities, but each day brought stories of new battles in the Pacific, Italy, and northwestern Europe”

Songbird, Chapter 52

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