JUNE 27, 1924


Shay, born in Bristol, Connecticut, and raised on Indian Island, Maine (ME), served as an Army combat medic with the 1st Division (Big Red One). He was in the 1st wave to land at Omaha Beach on D-Day and earned a Silver Star. He also saw action in Aachen, Huertgen Forest & “Battle of the Bulge,” before being taken prisoner in March 1945. In the Korean War, now-Master Sergeant Shay earned a Bronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. He later joined the US Air Force, retiring in 1964 and then worked for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna until 1984. In 2007, France awarded him the Legion d’Honneur and, in 2008, he became a Distinguished Member of his 1st Division Regiment. In 2009, Charles pushed ME to designate June 21 as Native American Veterans Day. After helping re-publish The Life and Traditions of the Red Man–written in 1893 by his grandfather, Shay, in 2012, published Project Omaha Beach: The Life and Military Service of a Penobscot Native American Elder.

  “Charles Norman Shay,” Personal website.  Retrieved 11/29/2021, About (charlesnormanshay.com)
Photo: Romain Bréget, 10/13/2018. Charles N. Shay at Omaha Beach. Permissive Use.

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