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The Last Officer: 99-Year-old Major General John Raaen is the last surviving officer from the first wave of D-Day. He was born at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1922, to a career military officer, and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation, he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

In October of 1943, Raaen was assigned to the newly activated 5th Rangers, and underwent extensive training in Florida, England, and Scotland.

He participated in the first wave of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, serving as Headquarters Company Commander of the 5th Rangers on Omaha Beach. During his first time in combat, Raaen, who was an Army Captain at the time, distinguished himself on the beaches of Normandy France. He was awarded the Silver Star and Combat Infantryman Badge for his actions on that day.

He served with the 5th Ranger Battalion in France, Belgium, and Germany, until December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, when he was involved in a serious Jeep accident. He was evacuated back to the United States and was appointed as an instructor in the Department of Ordnance at West Point until the end of the war.

Throughout the postwar years, Raaen held several important commands throughout the United States, Korea, Europe, and Vietnam. In April 1979, he retired at the rank of Major General after 36 years of devoted service to the Army.

Austrian Gendarmerie in British zone of control, early '50

Ford M1918, first US light tank


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