CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM) - 70 years ago this Friday, thousands of American military men risked their lives to help push back the Nazis as part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. One South Mississippi man, 92-year-old Adelchi Pilutti of Ocean Springs, was there as an army paratrooper.
Pilutti, who trained at Camp Shelby, jumped into occupied France on the morning of June 6, 1944, as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.
"We dropped down close to 500 feet and we went out," Pilutti said. "We were probably half way to the ground, the time my chute opened up completely. That left us maybe three or four more seconds that we were in the air, floating down, which was good. We were less of a target," he said.
"The mission was to destroy, annihilate whatever we could," he said. "Any bridges we did not need, we were to take out. Take out all kinds of communication lines, land communication, period," he said.
Pilutti fought in Normandy for 37 consecutive days and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor.
He also fought in Holland, where he was wounded, and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war he returned to his wife in Mississippi and joined the National Guard. He retired as a sergeant major.
"I thank God that I'm here and able to carry on and I still believe in the United States of America, yep, I do," he said.