Don F. Pratt Monument Pratt
At dawn June 6,1944. Brigadier General Don F. Pratt
assistant division commander (United States Army). Was killed when his glider crashed 250 yards east of this point. He was the first general Allied Forces officer killed in the liberation of France.
Enlisted in the Army in 1917, Don Pratt became second lieutenant, then staff officer with the 15th Infantry Regiment in China, instructor officer at the Fort Benning Infantry School in Georgia.
Chief of Staff at the 43rd ID in 1941, he was promoted in August 1942 to Brigadier General and second-in-command of the 101st Airborne Division under General Maxwell Taylor. He took part in the airborne assault on the Normale Cotentin aboard a glider on D-Day. He takes his place as a passenger in the Waco Fighting Falcon, leading the convoy of gliders, which lands in a field at Hiesville but fails to slow down due to the wet ground and the aircraft's overweight, due to the Jeep being carried. It hit a hedge, killing General Pratt and Second Lieutenant John Butler on the spot.
The general's body was wrapped in parachute canvas and buried in Normandy, then transported to Arlington National Cemetery on July 26, 1948.
Don Pratt was thus the first senior Allied officer to die in the Battle of Normandy. He was succeeded as second-in-command of the 101st Airborne by General Anthony McAuliffe.