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Amsterdam Heroes

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Richard J. Dantini

Richard J. Dantini

United States Army
1943
-
1945
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Richard J. Dantini enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 2,1943. An Amsterdam native, he was 19 years old. He underwent basic training at Camp Wheeler, GA, and left for the U.K in August, departing from Camp Shanks, NJ. As part of the 29th Division, 116th Infantry, his company (Company A)comprised the first four landing craft to come ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Company A suffered the heaviest casualties of the Normandy invasion: 212 of the230 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing. Richard Dantini was wounded in both legs and an arm by enemy machinegun fire, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Presidential Unit Citation. An authority on the D-Day invasion, he was interviewed by Stephen Spielberg’s staff during the filming of “Saving Private Ryan” to authenticate some of the raw footage and sound effects, and to provide background information. His D-Day accounts have been included in books by Stephen Ambrose and other historians. ABC News featured his live commentary on its 30th anniversary broadcast of the D-Day Invasion. After convalescing at Rhoads Hospital in Utica, NY, Richard Dantini devoted the rest of his life to helping combat veterans in Montgomery County. Along time commander of the local D.A.V., he voluntarily maintained Amsterdam’s5th Ward Memorial Park adjacent to his grocery store, removing litter, assisting with veteran events, and purchasing flowers for the decorative urns, never asking the city for reimbursement. He is an American hero.