The fourth and final stop on our Normandy D-Day road trip was Pointe-du-Hoc. The Fighting-Texas-Aggie in me had been looking forward to visiting Pointe-du-Hoc all day, as it was Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder who led the Army Rangers to victory at Pointe-du-Hoc. Rudder retired from the Army as a Major General and was the third president of Texas A&M University.
Pointe-du-Hoc was an important strategic location for the Germans, as it was the high point between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. A victory at Pointe-du-Hoc was crucial for the Allied forces in order to prevent the Germans from using Pointe-du-Hoc for observing both Utah and Omaha Beaches. The 2nd Ranger Battalion was to scale the cliffs by using ropes, ladders, and grappling hooks. Out of the 225+ American men who landed at Pointe-du-Hoc, 135 died. The Americans were at a clear disadvantage — imagine being expected to scale cliffs while enemy soldiers stood atop them, armed and shooting downward at you.