World War II beachmaster Joseph Vaghi dies at 92

BRETT ZONGKER Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Joseph P. Vaghi Jr., a World War II veteran who was one of the last surviving U.S. Navy beachmasters who landed at Normandy on D-Day to direct troops, has died. He was 92.

His son, Joe Vaghi III, said Vaghi died Saturday at a retirement home in Bethesda, Md., near Washington.

Vaghi was the youngest of 18 beachmasters who went ashore at Omaha Beach at 7:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944. There he directed landings of Allied troops on the shore amid German gunfire and helped treat and evacuate wounded soldiers. He later wrote about his experience.

Kenneth Davey, a retired teacher whose father served with Vaghi, said he didn't know of any other surviving beachmasters from the Allied invasion based on his research of military records over the years.

Vaghi was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions at Normandy. He later worked as an architect near the nation's capital.

In 1995, Vaghi accompanied Vice President Al Gore to Europe to mark the 50th anniversary of victory in World War II.

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