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 Relevant context by the author is supplemented by rare, unpublished oral histories with new revelations including vivid descriptions of events from four other heroic D-day soldiers in the 2nd Ranger Battalion.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.
Praise for D-Day Journal
C. Roland (Rollie) Stichweh, West Point graduate, 1965;
twice named Most Valuable Player in the Army-Navy game; Decorated Combat Veteran
Col. Robert W. Black, author of "The Battalion", "The Ranger Force" and "Rangers in World War II"
Chris P. Weggeman, Lt. Gen. USAF
Thomas M. Hatfield, Ph.D.
Author of Rudder: From Leader to Legend, College Station, Texas A&M University 2011
General Peter J. Schoomaker, USA Ret.
35th Chief of Staff, United States Army
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.