Raymond "Ray" TOLLEFSON
Company A
2nd Rangers Battalion


Brevands, June 8, 2014.
Ceremony in honor of the 101st Airborne Division at hamlet "Le Moulin"

Born in Northern Michigan, Ray Tollefson joined the US Rangers aged just 18. Ray Tollefson arrived in Bude on January 12, 1943.  All the Rangers stayed in private homes, Ray stayed at the private home of the Harry Ward family at 21 Killerton Rd. in Bude. Headquarters was downtown in a garage.   It was also the battalion kitchen (500 in a battalion.)  The cliffs in Bude were the first cliffs they began climbing, training for the invasion.  At first they didn't use ropes so the troops could get used to the height.  Later they used ropes at the steeper cliffs east of town, to continue developing their skills in both climbing and descending.  Later they went to Swange and Isle of Wight for LCA landings and various other types of climbing equipment. A year after Ray Joined the US Rangers, he landed on Omaha Beach with the 2nd Rangers near to the heavily fortified village of Vierville.

Within minutes of leaving the landing craft, Tollefson was hit and seriously wounded. He spent the day drifting in and out of consciousness, slowly dragging himself up the beach as chaos and carnage unfolded around him. Knowing he would die if he did nothing, Private Tollefson finally made it to the medical post and was taken out to a hospital boat lying off coast.

The telegram to Ray's mother to inform her that Ray had been wounded on D-Day
(Courtesy Kathy Tollefson Wisemann)