“D-Day Journal” is perfectly timed to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 2019 the world will pause and come together to honor those who served in one of the most pivotal battles of all time. “D-Day Journal” is a fresh firsthand account of Normandy invasion training and D-Day combat experiences written in a journal and in letters home by Lieutenant Frank L. Kennard, an officer in the famed 2nd Ranger Battalion which landed in the first waves of the D-Day invasion. President Reagan honored the 2nd Ranger battalion in a memorable speech as “the boys of pointe du hoc”.

At 22, after graduating from Yale, Kennard volunteered and trained with the Rangers in England, landed with his cannon platoon on D-day and two weeks later became 2nd Ranger Battalion Adjutant, the officer in charge of battalion personnel and administration. He fought with the 2nd Rangers under legendary commander LTC James Rudder and his successor through Europe to the end of the war. Lt. Kennard is believed to be one of only six soldiers who served with the 2nd Battalion from training in England until the end of the war. There is no other known contemporaneous record of Normandy invasion preparation and combat experiences written by a Ranger with Kennard’s breadth of perspective. Lt. Kennard’s letters and assessments have not previously been published.

On D-Day alone the 2nd Ranger Battalion suffered sixty percent casualties. When Kennard’s platoon was hit and stalled as it landed on the killing fields of bloody Omaha Beach, he and his men acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be.

The letters in “D-Day Journal” were written between Thanksgiving, 1943 and the Summer of 1945. Relevant context by the author is supplemented by rare, unpublished oral histories with new revelations including vivid descriptions of events from four other heroic D-day soldiers in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. These personal stories reveal the fears, determination, resiliency, courage and indelible bond forged among the soldiers in the 2nd Ranger Battalion before and after D-Day.

“D-Day Journal” is for readers from high school age to 80+ who are interested in big events in American military history and who enjoy reading colorful accurate non-fiction accounts of wartime events and combat experiences as told by those who were in the action.

Look Inside

Praise for D-Day Journal

"D Day Journal is unique in that it relates one man's actual experiences in a fascinating journal which captures the terror and yet courage of soldiers who served in the famous 2nd Ranger Battalion from D-Day to the end of the war. These short but compelling insights and eye witness reports allow the reader to believe he or she is actually there, each day, as a member of the elite "Boys of Point du Hoc". As those of us who served in combat in Vietnam recall, it brought back vivid memories of our rapid transition from boys to men. It is a great read. You won't be able to put it down. Very simply ... it is a terrific book on one of the most critical moments in our Country's history."

C. Roland (Rollie) Stichweh, West Point graduate, 1965;
twice named Most Valuable Player in the Army-Navy game; Decorated Combat Veteran

2018-12-06T13:56:39+00:00

C. Roland (Rollie) Stichweh, West Point graduate, 1965;
twice named Most Valuable Player in the Army-Navy game; Decorated Combat Veteran

"D Day Journal is unique in that it relates one man's actual experiences in a fascinating journal which captures the terror and yet courage of soldiers who served in the famous 2nd Ranger Battalion from D-Day to the end of the war. These short but compelling insights and eye witness reports allow the reader to believe he or she is actually there, each day, as a member of the elite "Boys of Point du Hoc". As those of us who served in combat in Vietnam recall, it brought back vivid memories of our rapid transition from boys to men. It is a great read. You won't be able to put it down. Very simply ... it is a terrific book on one of the most critical moments in our Country's history."
John V.O. Kennard has assembled an eminently readable first-hand embodiment of our Nation’s “greatest generation”! A conversational journey of his father, Lt Frank Kennard’s, service as Battalion S1 and Adjutant of the famous United States Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion “Rudder’s Rangers” as told through a series of personal letters Lt Kennard wrote to his family during the War. An enthralling read, which illustrates his father’s qualities of character, perseverance, and genuine courage as a selfless US Army Ranger volunteer, who charged off his landing craft onto Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944, into the most violent, deadly and chaotic world anyone could imagine. Lt Kennard’s personal letters to his family personify a rare emotional intelligence as he masterfully navigates the moral imperative to communicate his wartime journey, well-being, and love for his family while also insulating them from the relentless, ugly, visceral realities of war. I have had the honor to stand on the hallowed ground of Omaha Beach and have walked across the surreal, cratered, lunar-landscape of Pointe Du Hoc. As a career USAF F-16 Fighter Pilot, each and every step was brimming with emotions, the most powerful being respect and gratitude for the selfless sacrifices made by countless heroes’ like Lt Frank Kennard, and his 2nd Ranger Battalion's band of brothers. It is an honor to know his son and his granddaughter who live their lives with the same discipline, patriotism, audacity and love of family their patriarch embodied. John Kennard’s story of his father’s service is a beacon for our un-bridled American values; family, freedom, service to a greater good, and the indomitable grit of the human spirit!

Chris P. Weggeman, Lt. Gen. USAF

2018-12-11T00:42:06+00:00

Chris P. Weggeman, Lt. Gen. USAF

John V.O. Kennard has assembled an eminently readable first-hand embodiment of our Nation’s “greatest generation”! A conversational journey of his father, Lt Frank Kennard’s, service as Battalion S1 and Adjutant of the famous United States Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion “Rudder’s Rangers” as told through a series of personal letters Lt Kennard wrote to his family during the War. An enthralling read, which illustrates his father’s qualities of character, perseverance, and genuine courage as a selfless US Army Ranger volunteer, who charged off his landing craft onto Omaha Beach on the 6th of June 1944, into the most violent, deadly and chaotic world anyone could imagine. Lt Kennard’s personal letters to his family personify a rare emotional intelligence as he masterfully navigates the moral imperative to communicate his wartime journey, well-being, and love for his family while also insulating them from the relentless, ugly, visceral realities of war. I have had the honor to stand on the hallowed ground of Omaha Beach and have walked across the surreal, cratered, lunar-landscape of Pointe Du Hoc. As a career USAF F-16 Fighter Pilot, each and every step was brimming with emotions, the most powerful being respect and gratitude for the selfless sacrifices made by countless heroes’ like Lt Frank Kennard, and his 2nd Ranger Battalion's band of brothers. It is an honor to know his son and his granddaughter who live their lives with the same discipline, patriotism, audacity and love of family their patriarch embodied. John Kennard’s story of his father’s service is a beacon for our un-bridled American values; family, freedom, service to a greater good, and the indomitable grit of the human spirit!
“Just when readers think they have seen the last of authentic first-hand accounts about the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, along comes a new book based on previously unpublished letters written by a soldier who was there. Now comes the account of Lieutenant Frank L. Kennard, adjutant of the legendary 2nd Ranger Battalion to war's end in Czechoslovakia. Literate and observant (Yale, BS, in economics), Kennard was selected for the job by his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder, and stayed near him almost constantly. The one exception adds to the uniqueness of his account; Kennard did not participate in the initial assault to scale the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, but was moved there by landing craft from Omaha Beach on June 7th, arriving in time to help defend the Pointe against repeated German attacks. The quality of this book is enhanced by the skill of Kennard’s son, John V.O. Kennard, who compiled and annotated passages for historical context and clarity. “

Thomas M. Hatfield, Ph.D.
Author of Rudder: From Leader to Legend, College Station, Texas A&M University 2011

2018-12-06T13:54:20+00:00

Thomas M. Hatfield, Ph.D.
Author of Rudder: From Leader to Legend, College Station, Texas A&M University 2011

“Just when readers think they have seen the last of authentic first-hand accounts about the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, along comes a new book based on previously unpublished letters written by a soldier who was there. Now comes the account of Lieutenant Frank L. Kennard, adjutant of the legendary 2nd Ranger Battalion to war's end in Czechoslovakia. Literate and observant (Yale, BS, in economics), Kennard was selected for the job by his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder, and stayed near him almost constantly. The one exception adds to the uniqueness of his account; Kennard did not participate in the initial assault to scale the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, but was moved there by landing craft from Omaha Beach on June 7th, arriving in time to help defend the Pointe against repeated German attacks. The quality of this book is enhanced by the skill of Kennard’s son, John V.O. Kennard, who compiled and annotated passages for historical context and clarity. “
“On 6 June 2004, the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, while serving as the 35th Chief of Staff, Army, I was privileged to be the speaker on Pointe du Hoc. While there, I had the special honor of meeting many courageous veterans of the remarkable events that occurred on that spot. Among them was a quiet man of military bearing, accompanied by his son and daughter, both of whom also had served the nation in uniform. We talked about Soldier things and posed for pictures, but the circumstances reminded me of a scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. He was (former) Lieutenant Frank Kennard of the 2d Ranger Battalion, still proud and erect, but humble...much like my own father who was a veteran of three wars. I'll always remember that day as one of my best, most pure and honorable, in uniform. Now, through the efforts of his son, John V.O. Kennard, we are all provided some rare insights into one of the most famous fighting formations in our history...the U.S. Army Rangers. Told in his own words through personal letters and contemporaneous journal entries, we get the candid views of a combat soldier...the fear and apprehensions, occasional humor, factual first­ person observations, and many important, still relevant, lessons from difficult times so long ago.  Their story, and others like it, should be told and retold lest we forget, thus causing our children and grandchildren to re-learn them.  Rangers Lead the Way!”

General Peter J. Schoomaker, USA Ret.
35th Chief of Staff, United States Army

2018-12-06T13:53:46+00:00

General Peter J. Schoomaker, USA Ret.
35th Chief of Staff, United States Army

“On 6 June 2004, the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, while serving as the 35th Chief of Staff, Army, I was privileged to be the speaker on Pointe du Hoc. While there, I had the special honor of meeting many courageous veterans of the remarkable events that occurred on that spot. Among them was a quiet man of military bearing, accompanied by his son and daughter, both of whom also had served the nation in uniform. We talked about Soldier things and posed for pictures, but the circumstances reminded me of a scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. He was (former) Lieutenant Frank Kennard of the 2d Ranger Battalion, still proud and erect, but humble...much like my own father who was a veteran of three wars. I'll always remember that day as one of my best, most pure and honorable, in uniform. Now, through the efforts of his son, John V.O. Kennard, we are all provided some rare insights into one of the most famous fighting formations in our history...the U.S. Army Rangers. Told in his own words through personal letters and contemporaneous journal entries, we get the candid views of a combat soldier...the fear and apprehensions, occasional humor, factual first­ person observations, and many important, still relevant, lessons from difficult times so long ago.  Their story, and others like it, should be told and retold lest we forget, thus causing our children and grandchildren to re-learn them.  Rangers Lead the Way!”
A vivid first hand account of American Ranger actions in the invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. Assembled from the letters home and after action reports of the men who fought, by a valiant young Ranger officer who was a leader among them. A story of battle, hardship, valor and victory.

Col. Robert W. Black, author of "The Battalion", "The Ranger Force" and "Rangers in World War II"

2018-12-11T00:13:15+00:00

Col. Robert W. Black, author of "The Battalion", "The Ranger Force" and "Rangers in World War II"

A vivid first hand account of American Ranger actions in the invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. Assembled from the letters home and after action reports of the men who fought, by a valiant young Ranger officer who was a leader among them. A story of battle, hardship, valor and victory.

About the Author

John Kennard is the son of 2nd Ranger Battalion Lt. Frank L. Kennard whose letters are the subject of “D-Day Journal.” Kennard was commissioned a Lieutenant in the US Army Armor Corps. He served in Germany, rose to Captain and went to Vietnam in 1970. In Vietnam, Captain Kennard was a Special Security Officer (SSO) working for five General Officers and one US Ambassador managing their backchannel messages also known as “Eyes Only” messages. He also handled highly classified information from the DIA, CIA and State Department. Kennard earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia. After military service, Kennard earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Darden School at the University of Virginia.