NORMAN, Okla. – On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one Oklahoma man has vivid memories of the day that shaped the course of world history in the 20th century.
If you visit the IHOP in Norman on Ed Noble Parkway, say mid-morning, any day of the week – you are bound to see Louis Cobb.
“I’ve been coming here a long time I guess,” Cobb said.
Cobb has been having a chicken fried steak and a shake for as long as anyone can remember. Heck, they just celebrated his 96th birthday with a big party.
“A day doesn’t go by we don’t see Mr. Louis, and he is a treasure to have here,” said Amy Reed, IHOP manager.
But, the Capitol Hill High School product is not just a restaurant celebrity; he is also an American hero.
“As we got on the boat, they handed us a rife and ammunition, and they said don’t do nothing with that until we tell you. When we got about half way across the ocean headed for France, they said lock and load,” he said.
Part of the 120th infantry, Cobb was on the fourth wave of troops to land at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
“They dropped the door machine gun fire, killed a bunch of them. They were slaughtering us just as fast as they could pull the trigger. I went over the side. And, they had things sticking in the water, and I got behind one of them and bullets wising off of them,” he said.
Cobb said his platoon finally got up against the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc.
“We got up against that wall. This guy up on top was, he had a box of grenades; he was twisting it and tossing it over,” he said.
Cobb then found cover behind a rock and, along with his fellow soldiers, set up a mortar to lob rounds to the German defensive positions on high. After hours on the beach, that mortar cover gave engineers enough time blow a hole in the German line and American GIs flooded through.
“But, of 1,100, we lost 65 percent. They finally blew us a way to get out, then we took them out,” he said. “We had orders not to take any prisoners, as we come through there, these Germans – they started giving up, hollering bitta bitta. Well, hell, I didn’t know what bitta bitta means, so we just shot them, and we went on.”
Even though people go up to Cobb all the time to talk, he shows the modesty typical of so many WWII vets.
“I didn’t think anybody knew about me. I’ve worn this a time or two, but I don’t advertise it you know,” he said.
On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the pictures are still vivid in Cobb’s head.
“It brought back a lot of memories that was right up close, like I got a little emotional seeing all that, it’s just right there again,” he said.
A special thanks to Floyd Yarbrough for bringing Cobb’s story to our attention.