Auburn at Normandy: The 299th Combat Engineers and Local Stories of WWII

299th Engineer Combat Battalion | The Proven Pioneers

“Most of them came from Buffalo, Auburn, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse and several smaller towns in this area of New York State. Upon seeing this, it was evident that our Battalion was destined to become a powerful force.”                  -Dale Thayer, The Famous 299th

On 14 March 1943, 180 enlisted men arrived at Camp White from the 1213th Reception Station at Fort Niagara, New York, and men continued to arrive until they reached battalion level. The men were all New Yorkers, and many grew up with their fellow soldiers and knew each other for years. Of these men, 63 were from Auburn, dubbed the “Auburn Boys”.

The story of the 299th is one of heroism and honor- these men were among the first Americans to hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, fighting through the Battle of the Bulge and onto Germany, remaining overseas until the war was won. This exhibit features the men of the 299th but also honors other men of Cayuga County who bravely fought in WWII,  both in Europe and the Pacific.

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