WATCH: PIT Honors D-Day Veteran Warren Goss

99-year-old observing 80th anniversary of D-Day with Normandy visit

By Rocco Pacella and Adam Bechtold and Julie Bercik

Published June 3, 2024

Read Time: 3 mins

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On June 6, 1944, Warren Goss landed on Utah Beach as part of the D-Day invasion, the beginning of the end of World War II. He earned a Bronze Star for carrying a wounded soldier to safety from behind enemy lines.

Eighty years later, at the age of 99, he is returning to the beaches of Normandy. He’s an American hero – but don’t tell him that.

“Everybody was a hero then. I’m not the hero,” said Goss, who said it was the entire country who pitched in and pulled together. “All the fellas that carried the supplies, all the fellas working in the mills at home and all the mothers and fathers [who] prayed everyday are the heroes.”

Last Thursday, May 30, Pittsburgh International Airport hosted a proper send-off for Goss, who lives in the Ohio Township area of the Pittsburgh region, as he embarked on his journey back to Europe with one of his daughters and a nephew. Organized with the Veterans Breakfast Club, the ceremony included local dignitaries, media representatives, members of the Veterans Breakfast Club, PIT team members and Goss’ family.

Travis McNichols, chief operating officer at PIT, began the event with an overview of Goss’ service eight decades ago.

“Eighty years after D-Day, not many of the witnesses to history that day are still with us, which is why it’s critical to hear from people like Warren,” McNichols said.

“It is a real honor to be here, in my district, to see the airport make this effort to honor Mr. Goss,” said Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District). “It truly is an honor to me, Mr. Goss, veteran to veteran, to thank you for your service to this great country of ours and to wish you safe travels.”

“On behalf of all the 1.25 million people of Allegheny County, I want to wish you safe travels and I want to thank you for your service,” Allegheny County Councilman Sam DeMarco said.

State Representative Valerie Gaydos (R), whose uncle served in World War II and took part in the D-Day invasion, said, “it was ingrained in me the importance of this operation, because to this day it still is the most amazing, the most complicated, the most expansive operation that any military has seen in history.”

PIT Honors D-Day Veteran 2024

Goss landed in Normandy as a part of the 4th Infantry Division, 531st Special Brigade. His unit was tasked with clearing Utah Beach prior to the ensuing, larger wave of the D-Day invasion.

“It’s impossible to explain the feeling of that morning,” said Goss, as he described climbing down from his ship into a landing craft—popularly known as a Higgins boat—waiting with his fellow soldiers and making his way to Utah Beach.

After D-Day, Goss continued fighting to help liberate Cherbourg, a vital deep-water port located in the French northwest. He fought across France to the Saar River on the border of Germany, eventually taking part in the Battle of the Bulge, which ended the final Nazi offensive.

“Warren is one of our nation’s greatest witnesses to war and to history,” said Todd DePastino, director of the Veterans Breakfast Club.

Goss said he is thankful for nearly a century of life; a life granted partially through the sacrifice of so many, especially those who served, many of whom gave everything 80 years prior on those faraway French beaches. He also reflected on the meaning of what happened that day.

“The first time I went over there [after D-Day] it was beautiful,” said Goss. “I had my wife and my two daughters with me. I saw all the people playing, couples holding hands, and it made me feel good, like I did something good; there were people there living a good life now.”

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