Martinsburg VA Medical Center
WWII Veteran recounts time spent in theater
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died serving our great nation. U.S. Army Veteran Norman Duncan, who recently turned 100, spent his time in service helping to ease the minds of those heading into what could be their last battle.
Duncan started his military career with the 29th Infantry Division but due to a training accident he was reassigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s extended staff and the Special Services Division. He spent his military career working in morale, which is the equivalent to the modern-day Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program found on military installations throughout the world and quickly attained the rank of Master Sergeant. One of his duties was to supply recreational accommodations such as games and entertainment prior to the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day. “I provided ways for soldiers to get their mind off the potential of being killed,” said Duncan. “It was my job to help distract them from the future.”
Duncan’s former unit was part of the first wave of Omaha Beach and many of his comrades were killed during the invasion. “By the grace of God, I was not with my unit that fateful day and my life was spared,” he said. “Yes, dear friends, I was there and am a living witness and I do cry many days, but Memorial Day is worse than others.”
For the service he provided in support of Northern France, Duncan was awarded Battle Honors, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal and in 2018 the French Legion of Honor, the highest award military and civilians can receive from France.