D-3 What Exactly Does the D in D Day stand for?

3 days until the 72nd anniversary of D-Day.

It’s interesting that historians can’t quite agree what the D stands for. The simplest explanation is it stands for Day. Which means Day-Day?

Eisenhower, years later, when asked had his assistant reply: “General Eisenhower asked me to respond to your letter. Be advised that any amphibious operation has a ‘departed date’; therefore the shortened term ‘D-Day’ is used.”

The answer is probably much easier, in that starting in World War I, the phrase was first used in a field order by the American Expeditionary Forces in Field Order #8 (or 9 depending on source) issued on Sept. 20, 1918, which read, ‘The First Army will attack at H-Hour on D-Day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel salient.’” So D stands for Day and H stands for hour. Then you can go back and forth from each, using it is the center point. D minus 3, which is today, is three days before.

Having been in the military, I go with the simplest explanation, since things tend toward that. We used to have to name exercises and deployments using specific letters and number of letters.

It’s also key to remember that there were a lot of D-Days during World War II, particularly in the Pacific. Take a look at that picture above. Imagine that ramp going down and you’re looking at the horizon. You’re hearing the supersonic crack of bullets. You see the dead and wounded floating in the water and lying on the beach ahead of you. That’s why D-Day is so significant.

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Originally published at www.writeitforward.com on June 3, 2016.

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to www.bobmayer.com

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