Richard “Dick” Glenn grew up in Altoona, PA, where he graduated from High School in 1938. In response to the Japanese attack of 7 Dec 41 that plunged the United States into war, he enlisted in the Navy in April of 1942.
After completing basic training at Great Lakes, his war experience was spent aboard Landing Ships, Tank (LST), participating in the amphibious landings in North Africa, Sicily, and Salerno. At the time of the invasion of Western Europe, he had climbed to the rank of Quartermaster 1st Class and was assigned to the USS LST-523.
USS LST-523 was built for the US Navy at the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Co. in Indiana, laid down in October 1943 and commissioned into US Navy service in February 1944. LST’s of this class were 328′ feet in length overall, had a beam of 50 feet, and a draft of about 4 feet during amphibious landings. Typical open ocean cruising speed was 9 kts while displacing 3960 tons. The standard complement was 13 officers and 104 enlisted, with additional troop accommodations for 16 officers and 147 enlisted. The LST-523 was commanded by LT(jg) Harold Cross for its entire time in commission.
From the LST-523’s inland launch location, she transited the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, was fully manned and convoyed across the Atlantic, arriving in time to take her part in OPERATION OVERLORD.
The LST-523 was assigned to the Western Task Force, Follow-up Force B at Falmouth, England. The cross channel invasion took place on 6 Jun 44. In the wake of the initial landings, the LST-523 and her crew made two round trips to the Normandy Beachhead, each time delivering supplies and removing wounded. On her third trip, on 19 June 1944, with the men and material of the 300th Engineer Combat Battalion embarked in addition to her crew of 195 and a 40-man medical staff, the LST-523 struck a mine while maneuvering from the Utah Beach anchorage to the beachhead.
The force of the blast split the LST in two pieces with 94 men of the 300th and 41 of her crew carried down with her. The blast occurred when a number of the ship’s company were line for chow on the mess deck. Some of the ship’s sailors were rescued by a nearby ship, but Dick wasn’t among them. He was initially declared missing in action, which was changed to killed in action on 20 Jun 45. Quartermaster 1C Glenn was a small piece of the thousands of US, British, and Canadians of all military branches that participated in history’s greatest amphibious landing, which spelled the beginning of the end for Hitler and the 3rd Reich.
The tradition of military service in his family has continued; his nephew, Bill Klopsch, flew A-4s during Operation ROLLING THUNDER in the Vietnam War, and his grandnephew, Richard Hill, served in Southwest Asia and was recently promoted to Captain in the US Navy.
We honor you, Richard Glenn.