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Cox Amin Isbir KIA
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Cox Amin Isbir KIA  


Many LCI sailors and several 6th Naval Beach Battalion veterans returned to France for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2004. Patrick Elie, a grateful French citizen, read the following letter in Bayeaux, Normandy to members of the USS LCI National Association and Amin Isbir put ashore by LCI(L) 88:

Dear Veteran

I'm writing to say "Thank You," and, through me, there are thousands of children speaking to thousands of Veterans.

Like us, you were young and carefree, but, when you were only twenty years old, Liberty called you, to say: "I'm dying. Come save me!"

And you arose, full of courage and zeal, to answer that call.
You underwent training, day after day, for "D" Day, and, one day in June, you arrived by air and sea.

You saw your fellows fall on our beaches and, in spite of your grief and your injuries, you stayed on and fought side-by-side with us.

And so, dear Veteran, I want to tell you, regarding those dear to you who sacrificed their youth and are now resting in peace, the sleep of the just, that, WE ARE THE CHILDREN THEY NEVER HAD.

And to you, dear Veteran, who offered your bravery and your most promising years for this our land, I say to you, WE ARE YOUR SONS, SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LIBERTY, who want to say to you today, a heartfelt "THANK YOU!"


Amin Isbir - KIA 6 June 1944

June 14, 2005

Hello Mr. Marriott and Mr. Davey,

I am writing to you regarding the 6th Navel Beach Battalion. Mr. Marriot, I understand that you and Ken Davey's father, Dr. Davey, were members of this group. Carol Tuckwiller at the D-Day Museum in Bedford gave me your email addresses. I am the Great Nephew of Coxswain Amin Isbir. His brother JB was my Grandfather. His other brother Esper, also known as Izzy also served in the Navy. I want to first say thank you to you Mr. Marriot and Mr. Davey, if you can pass my thanks along to Dr. Davey, please do. I understand that there is a reunion planned for this fall. I was wondering if I could attend?

I was wondering if you remember my uncle. I have spoken to Ensign Vaghi last weekend and he informed me on how Uncle Amin was killed on D-Day. It was an amazing conversation. Carol also forwarded me a brief passage that speaks of my Uncle by name. She sent me the following....

"One of the sources I've been looking through again for more information on your uncle was a collection of personal recollections that were put together by members of the 6th Beach Battalion for their 1998 Reunion. One reference was a letter from William R. Finnie to Ken Davey saying he "would like to know more about what happened to Amin Isbir a good friend of mine..." The other reference in this same collection is from a paper Ken Davey wrote titled "Navy Medicine On Bloody Omaha," where he says "Moments after Amin Isbar was killed by an artillery explosion, Beachmaster Vaghi was observed dragging a casualty ..."

I have spoken only once to Ensign Vaghi whom my uncle called Vogi. He was so nice to take my call and confirmed to me that my Uncle was killed on D-Day. I am working with Carol to find another source of my Uncles death. He is listed as being killed on June 8th. I know that is not true. Can you help me by providing me what you know?

Here is what Ensign Vaghi said to me which I transposed below..

Uncle Amin Isbir was killed in action 61 years ago today. He was on LCI-L 88, along with members of the 5th Special Engineers Brigade to whom he was transporting to Omaha Beach, Easy Red One sector. At 7:35 in the morning, Uncle Amin along with Ensign Joe Vaghi were onboard ship as they approached the beach without incident. "Smooth sailing, all the way in" Ensign Joe Vaghi told me in a phone interview I had with him nearly 61 years from the day my Uncle was killed.

"200 feet offshore, the boat came to a halt and started disembarking the troops down the port and starboard side ramps. All was going good and then bam, a 88mm shell took off the starboard side ramp and killed many of the soldiers." Uncle Amin and Ensign Vaghi moved forward to help get soldiers down the remaining ramp. A LCI-L carried about 200 soldiers. A short time later the remaining troops moved ashore from the ship followed by the cargo. Ensign Vaghi was Beach Master for Easy Red One. German fire continued to harass the soldiers on the beach as well as the landing party. Despite all of that danger, Uncle Amin and Ensign Vaghi continued with the job they had to do. An Army officer approached Ensign Vaghi telling him what the guys needed, which ammo, etc. Using a Walkie Talkie, Ensign Vaghi would signal the ship and what ever he wanted would be brought down. This went on for some time despite the continued shelling and random round that would bounce down the beach.

Assisting a wounded soldier to get onto a stretcher, Uncle Amin and Ensign Vaghi lent a hand to the attending medic. Ensign Vaghi was on his knees while Amin was standing at the other end of the stretcher. "All of a sudden, there was a tremendous explosion!" Ensign Vaghi was knocked unconscious from the blast. Uncle Amin would receive a much more deadly blow. Some 5 miles from the landing beaches the Germans had a railway gun. It wasn't until later that day that Ensign Vaghi found out what happened and it wasn't until much later that he found out how the German's targeted the location of where he and Amin were. "The shell landed nearby and hit a jeep that flew into the air. Your Uncle Amin was killed when the jeep landed right on top of him. He never knew what hit him." Later that day, Ensign Vaghi would unselfishly remove ammo, grenades, and gasoline from what would be another jeep that was burning on the beach. For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Uncle Amin was dead, but like all other guys who were on that beach that day, there was nothing that could have been done. As it turns out, Ensign Vaghi was told that the Germans zeroed in on his broadcasts back to the ship. "How they did that, I don't know, but that is what they told me."

Ensign Vaghi and I will be talking again soon and he has agreed to meet with me. He told me a lot about my Uncle. Amin told him that he felt that he would never get home again to see his "Little Woman," his common law wife, whose name he did not know. "He was a very religious man, very smart, and knew so much about being a sailor. He was the oldest of all the guys onboard. He had all the respect of all the other younger sailors. We had the best Company because of Amin!" Ensign Vaghi and Uncle Amin were both assigned to the 6th Navel Beach Battalion. During our conversation, Ensign Vaghi told me that Amin used to call him Mr. Vogi. In fact as our conversation continued, I too called him Vogi. We laughed and I told him that I would continue to call him Mr. Vogi in our future conversations. In a way, it was Uncle Amin speaking to him.

I asked about the misdating of his tombstone both in Normandy and in McKeesport. He said that he was trying to get that changed. Accomplishing this would not only restore the memory of my Uncle, but let him lie in Peace. Uncle Amin was awarded the Purple Heart and received statements from the French Government and President Roosevelt honoring his service. His sister and my Great Aunt Della is anxiously awaiting my visit to her home so I can document those items for the family. I cannot begin to tell all of you how much that talking to one man, Ensign Vaghi meant to me. To find out the truth about his final moments, to look back in time, to somehow be a part of what went on 61 years ago, well, it is just overwhelming.

Since 1999 or so, D-Day is recreated on the shores of Lake Erie in Conneaut Ohio. This year's event takes place on the 17th of September. I hope that the reunion doesn't happen the same weekend. But if it does, my decision would be to be with the friends and buddies of my uncle, an uncle I never knew.

I hope to here from either of you soon. I will call you back if you give me a ring.

Thanks so much....

Eric Montgomery
Originally from McKeesport PA
Residing in Elizabethton TN.

Coxswain Amin Isbir's grave in the Normandy Cemetary was photographed by Bob Giguere 6 June 2001. On D-Day, Giguere "had just asked Amin where C-9 was, and while pointing he said, 'over there!' I went a short ways, and heard a loud explosion. I didn't know for years later Amin was killed in that blast."

From Commander Vaghi's son
June 24, 2005

Sorry you won't be with us this weekend for Dad's 85th birthday party but we all realize that something more important in your life is taking place. We all want to wish you the very best as you celebrate the accomplishments of 34 years as a teacher. How wonderful!

Thanks for sending along Eric Montgomery's e-mail about Amin Isbir. My father won't talk about him and the events of Isbir's final moments, but as he opened up to his Great Nephew Eric, I think there were many years of pain finally getting off his chest. I know this to be true because my Dad told me that when he returned after the war, he tried to speak with Amin Isbir's mother. However, she was in so much pain due to the loss of her son, she would not talk to Dad. He finally spoke with Amin's sister many years later. Dad tried to find his grave-site with my Mother when they returned to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary, but logistics and the lack of time kept him from giving his respects to Isbir.

As my parents and my brother Nino were leaving London and we were arriving my father mentioned to me that he never made it to Isbir's grave-site. The next week my wife Mary and I went to Normandy and went to the administration office of the cemetery and found the plot location of Amin Isbir and paid the respects on behalf of my father. When I later told him that we found Isbir's grave site his eyes were filled with tears.

Thank you so very much for sending us Eric Montgomery's account of this event that I'm sure has haunted my father for 61 years.

Hope we can get together soon.

Your friend,

Joe Vaghi 3

Many D-Day veterans KIA on 6 June 1944 are not remembered accurately for their D-Day sacrifice. Army graves registration crews listed many as KIA on 8 or 9 June 1944. Due to the invasion carnage, it wasn't possible to bury the dead until 8 June, when Navy Beach Battalion medical officers wisely dispensed great quantities of brandy, allowing graves registration crews to begin their solemn duties. After 65 years, Coxswain Amin Isbir’s official KIA date was corrected by his nephew Eric Montgomery.

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