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Victor Croasdale holds up a remote-control model he built of the World War II-era U.S.S. Melvin, a Fletcher-class destroyer commissioned in November 1943, outside of the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library in Spring Valley. Croasdale, who has built a selection of various military models on display at the library entrance, will be rotating the selection from his extensive collection for an upcoming exhibit commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Imagine running in sand with 40 pounds of military gear strapped to your back into machine gun fire from determined and dug in German soldiers.
Thousands of allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, nearly 70 years ago during the ground assault of Operation Overlord.
The day was June 6, 1944, and would forever be known as D-Day. The allied victory was the turning point in the European Theater of World War II — a victory that cost the lives of more than 4,400 American, British and Canadian soldiers.
Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library in Spring Valley will commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Friday, June 6 when Spring Valley resident Victor Croasdale will discuss the events leading up to and including D-Day.
“D-Day was a significant event,” Croasdale said. “It represented opening up a new front against Nazi Germany. And it was the largest amphibious invasion in history. It simply was never done before.”
Croasdale, 60, who used to work as an engineering officer in the British Merchant Navy (1974-1981), has on display through May 30 many of his models of tanks, helicopters, jeeps, airplanes and ships such as the USS Arizona, USS CV 65 Enterprise, HMS Hood and P.T. 109 on display at the library.
After May 30, the display will be changed to a completely World War II-themed display until the commemoration event.
The displays are located in the glass cases that bookend the library lobby. Each model has a data sheet describing the piece of war material. For example, visitors can learn how many people served aboard the USS Arizona or how fast tanks from World War II could drive both on and off road.
“I just like general history, especially ships,” Croasdale said. “I was an engineer before and making models allows me to continue to enjoy them and I thought I could share them as well.”