Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Leo Scheer named Grand Marshal of parade

Posted: Friday, June 9, 2017

Leo Scheer, 93, of Huntington has been named the Grand Marshal of the 2017 Heritage Days parade. Scheer now lives at the Heritage of Huntington. The parade will be held Saturday, June 17 beginning at 10 a.m. from Huntington North High School.

After graduating from Huntington Catholic High School in 1942, Scheer found himself storming the beaches of Normandy two years later. Scheer wanted to be a seaman with the Navy when he enlisted, but said he was instead placed as a medic in the first wave of those invading Omaha Beach.

According to an interview Scheer did with a Fort Wayne TV station, he said his battallion was paired up with a group of army engineers and headed for Omaha Beach on a landing craft. They were supposed to drop off the Army engineers and then head back for more men. Instead, Scheer said the landing craft hit a couple mines and caught on fire. Only 20 years old at the time, Scheer dropped his medic pack and jumped in 10 to 12 feet of water 200 years away from Omaha Beach. Scheer recalled, I had a couple incidents going in, trying to help a frantic guy and he almost set off a mine himself.

As the 20-year-old medic headed toward the beach, he had a near-death experience when a German machine gun began firing his direction only a couple feet from shore. He told the reporter, “You can’t run. You can’t duck. You’re just standing there as targets. Well, those bullets are hitting the water coming toward me from the side and all of a sudden it stopped about a foot from my side,” Scheer said. “All of a sudden they stopped. And all my life I wondered, ‘What stopped that?’”

Unarmed, the medic eventually army-crawled up the shore to the seawall and found another medic ranked above him. According to Scheer, “I asked him, ‘What do you think we ought to be doing?’ He was frozen with fear. And he didn’t say a word,” Scheer explained. “So I said, ‘Ok, I’ll go do what I can do by myself,’ which is what I did.” The former medic continued, “We didn’t bring any bandages with us ’cause we threw ours off on the landing craft. So we learned to take bandages off dead people and their water if we needed it.”

Scheer also spent some time as a medic on the Pacific front following the Normandy invasion.