World War II

The Greatest Generation
One in a series of tributes to members of “The Greatest Generation”
who served our country during World War II

Maximo Tijerina

By Bill Youngkin
Special to The Eagle
Part Two - D-Day and Beyond
When Maximo Tijerina Sr. landed
on Omaha Beach on D-Day, he didn’t
think he would get off it alive. 2,400
American soldiers didn’t make it off
the beach on D-Day. Omaha Beach
was particularly difficult because the
Germans were on the bluffs above the
beach with the bluffs as high as 170
feet above the beach in some places.
In an attempt to get the men off the
beach, one commander is reported to
have told his men that two types of
people would stay on the beach - the
dead and those going to die - so they
better get the hell out of there, and
they did.
successful was not a coordinated
and well planned strategy of the
Allied Forces. Instead, it was through
individual and small groups collective
acts of bravery. As in most wars and
battles, it became a battle of each
soldier, with the help of the guy on his
left and the guy on his right, against
the enemy in front of them.
“After we had pushed the Germans
off the bluff and pushed them inland
that first day, most of us were amazed
we were still alive. Most of the guys in
my outfit were farm boys like me with
no combat experience. It felt like we
had gotten so much older after D-Day.
From then on until the end of the war,
we were seasoned veterans.”
Tijerina and the men of D Battery
continued to push the Germans back
though France and on into Belgium.
The 413th Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Battalion was attached to Patton’s 3rd
Army and they pushed forward as fast
as they could and as far as they could.
“All the way through France and
Belgium you had to keep an eye out for
snipers. They seemed to be everywhere.
The other thing was you didn’t do was
pick up souvenirs left lying around
because they were probably booby

“When the Germans counterattacked
at the Battle of the Bulge, it was almost
as bad as D-Day and not just because
of what the Germans were doing. The
weather was terrible. It was so very,
very cold. Our Battalion was in the line
for this and we were being pushed back
by the Germans. Before we were able
to stop the Germans, we had retreated
almost forty miles.
“While retreating, we were left with
only one road open with the Germans
trying to pinch it off as a retreat route.
We were almost captured. For those
who had not been killed or wounded,
they were probably suffering from frost
bite or trench foot.
“Once we got the Germans stopped,
it was push again until we got to the
Rhine River. Where we crossed they
had a pontoon bridge going across the
Rhine. I had just gotten across when
some German bombers and fighter
planes came over trying to knock out
the pontoon bridge.
“They missed the bridge but they
hit me. I was hit by a large piece of
shrapnel that was sticking out of my
left shoulder. I tried to get it out but I
couldn’t. I was taken to an aid station
where they took the shrapnel out,
patched me up and four days later I was
back in the line with my outfit where I
stayed until the end of the war.
“Since there wasn’t much in the way
of German aircraft now, we were used in
support of the infantry. I was the radio
man with the forward observer. We
would be in the line with the infantry
and our primary job was to mark the
German line with smoke. Then the
regular artillery would take out what
they could behind our smoke line.
“The problem with being a forward
observer is that you stayed in the line.
The infantry platoons would be relieved
but we stayed. Fortunately after
crossing the Rhine, the Germans were
mostly running or trying to surrender.
When the war ended, I was eighteen
miles from Berlin.

For more stories of local Veterans in their own words, log on to Brazos Valley Voices
podcast at, hosted by Tom Turbiville

PO BOX 3000, BRYAN, TX 77805


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