Private Adrien J Pelletier

Adrian J. Pelletier served as an army paratrooper in WW2. He was born somewhere in francophone Canada (possibly in Komouraska, QC based on 1921 Canadian Census records indicating the 171 district) on the 13th of February to Jospeh “Jules” Pelletier and Homeryle Amand. He spoke French at home and was the fourth youngest son out of eleven children. In his family moved to Massachusetts when he was a young child. He lived in many places in and around Salem before finally residing at 39 Harbor St. in Salem.

After one year in high school he began working for A.C. Lawrence Leather Co. On August 1942 Adrian enlisted in the army at Fort Devons, Massachusetts along with his  five brothers. In July of 1942 the activation of two full airborne the 82cd and the 101st was ordered and the 502cd was assigned as a permanent unit of the 101st division.  He left the United States a member of the 502cd infantry division a part of the 101st Airborne Division and we sent to Normandy.



On the 8th of June D-Day, their company made and attack against the Germans. It was on this day paratroopers were sent and tragically Adrien J Pelletier lost life. He was awarded a Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Infantryman Badge, American Campaign Medal, and World War Two Victory Medal.  His remains are buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. He has a square dedicated in his honor in Salem on the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Charter Street.

Location of gravesite

Death Inscription accessed from


For Further Reading

Berman, Mildred. “D-Day and Geography.” Geographical Review 84, no. 4 (1994): 469–75. doi:10.2307/215761.
This article focuses on the physical geography of the setting of Operation Overlord. It examines in depth why the date of June 6th was chosen for the attack as well as the actual location. The Normandy Peninsula’s physical location acts a gateway to Europe and a means of approaching the British Isles. Meteorologists were sought out to help find a date with the most favorable conditions. Geographical data provided much of the information needed for this choice. Characteristics such as tide, beaches, moon phases, and sailing distance were considered. Normandy was found to have the most favorable condition for success. Many civilians aided the military with vacation photos and postcards to create a map of the site. Normandy’s location provided access to capturing ports, supplying troops, and its estuaries and creeks provided defense from airborne attacks. The date of the invasion changed from May 1st to June 6th due to lack of supplies. The new date was heavily debated and weather conditions were carefully watched. The weather was not optimal, but would have been worse if the attack had been delayed. The weather also served as a factor in the element of surprise, which in turn helped the invasion’s success.

Delaney, Kate. “The Many Meanings of D-Day.” European Journal of American Studies 7, no. 2 (March 29, 2012). doi:10.4000/ejas.9544.
This article explores the evolution of D-day and what it symbolizes post World War II. It takes a look at the commemorations done in both the United States and abroad and how it has affected both domestic and foreign affairs. It also looks at the waxing and waning interest of D-Day through pop culture. In 1945 the first anniversary of the date was marked as a holiday for the Allied Forces. By 1949 it had become a memorial service with a celebration on the beaches of Normandy. In 1952 the anniversary of D-day was used as a platform to spread anti-communist sentiments. Twenty years after the invasion former President Eisenhower returned to Normandy to film a TV special. President Reagan visited during the 40th anniversary and honored both American and Ally troops and also addressed the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. This speech was a part of his re-election campaign. The anniversary of D-Day has become so much more than a holiday of remembrance. It has been used as a platform to address international issues. It has been used as a day for political gatherings. For Normandy France it has become a tourist attraction. The commemoration has changed dramatically throughout the years.

Haulman, Daniel L. “Before the D-Day Dawn: The Performance of the Troop Carriers at Normandy.” Air Power History 61, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 6–13.,ip,cpid&custid=ssc&db=aph&AN=96812832&site=eds-live&scope=site
This article can best be summarized as a recollection of what occurred the night before D-Day. It focuses on the complications with airplane carriers and paratroopers during that night such as separation of troops and inability for airborne divisions to assemble in a timely matter. It also clears up misconceptions on the sources of trouble. The experience of pilots was not a main factor of the confusion as many claim. Some of the difficulties were attributed to the darkness and lack of technology to see their surroundings. The sky was dominated with large clouds which exacerbated the situation. To add to these trying conditions, the carriers flew at a height making them more vulnerable to enemies’ fire. The tactics planned were not followed through due to the overwhelming amount of enemy troops. D-Day was intended to be an ambush so communication was limited and signals were silenced. Pilots and troops went in blind to a chaotic scene that could not be avoided. The amalgamation of different forces both physical and technical (technology, communication, over packed carriers, and environment) created the perfect storm that led to disarray. Despite the failures, troops were still successful and the disarray helped confuse German forces.

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