World War II Central Illinois Stories

Oral History Interview: Alexander Samaras of Danville


Alexander Samaras was the commanding officer of an LCT in the Navy, and fought at Utah Beach on D-Day. He and his men worked to ferry in troops and equipment, and then later on to ferry out the dead and prisoners. His LCT also carried in crucial equipment used to set up communications for both Omaha and Utah Beach. He joined his LCT in New Orleans, and the LCT was taken across the Atlantic on a larger LST. As a junior officer, he had to take his turn standing watch on the LST. During rough weather one night while he was on watch, three of the ships in his convoy were struck by torpedoes and blown up. That same night, his LST was hit by a torpedo, but it was dud. The entire hold of his LST, the length of a football field, was filled with ammunition. The torpedo put a dent in the stern. “It made me a fatalist,” he says.