Erie Paratrooper, Now 92, a “True American Hero”

In the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Erie resident Joseph Morettini, a 19-year-old paratrooper with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, jumped from a Douglas C-47 Skytrain over France’s Normandy coast.

German anti-aircraft tracer fire filled the nighttime sky, and Morettini’s first thoughts were that his life was about to end before he reached the ground.

“When my parachute opened up, I thought I would be dead,” said Morettini, a 92-year-old veteran who lives in the 1400 block of West 32nd Street in Erie. “I never saw so many tracers.”

Morettini landed about 16 miles inland from the Normandy coast, behind German lines.

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