Maynard Amond, 96, is sure to pay particular attention to today’s 70th anniversary of D-Day. For him and many other American soldiers, it was the start of a long, harrowing fight for Europe.
Amond, who resides at St. Andrew’s Village in White Township, landed on Utah beach the morning of June 6, 1944, as part of the 535th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. Manning 90 mm guns, his unit was responsible for shooting down enemy aircraft. Specifically, he was in charge of the group’s communications equipment.
Later, his unit followed Gen. George Patton into Paris, and Amond was there during the Battle of the Bulge in December of that year, where he repaired communications lines in enemy territory.
His Army service ended in December 1945. In that time, there were plenty of close calls.
“I was darn lucky,” Amond said in a 2012 Gazette story.
In 1946, he was one of the founding members of the Blairsville VFW and served as its first quartermaster, according to his niece, Judy Emerick, of Central City, Cambria County.
“He’s a living hero,” Emerick said.
Nicknamed “Red” due to his hair color, he was born in Penn Run in 1917. He and his wife, Alda Lee Amond, 94, operated a jewelry store in Blairsville from 1953 to 1983.
These days, he and Alda live at St. Andrew’s. They were married just four months before he was drafted into the Army, and they’ve been together for more than 72 years.
“They have been in love for a long time. They are always together,” Emerick said.