Raymond P. Nagell


Minneapolis native Ray Nagell flew troops into Holland as a glider crewman for Operation Market Garden and later fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He served in the 321st Gliderfield Artillery Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division. Many soldiers consider glider duty even more dangerous than parachuting out of planes. Nagell certainly faced a series of desperate situations during his years of service. He was drafted in 1942 and placed in the Air Force after only five weeks of basic training. Trained as a sighter, Nagell aimed a 75mm Howitzer at distant targets using coordinates given to him by a forward observer. The glider crewman moved throughout Europe by air, serving with his division through hundreds of dangerous situations and moments of relief. His experiences include emergency glider landings, cramming 13 men into a tiny plane, and living through mortar attacks, gunfire and bitter cold.