Cover of 'Climber of Point Du Hoc'

The Climber of Pointe du Hoc

A novella

Published to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day in June, The Climber of Pointe du Hoc, by Allen Saxon, AB ’71, weaves a tender love story into the gripping — and grim — Allied invasion of Europe. 

Caleb Huddleston, a quiet young man from Wyoming, enlists in 1942 and quickly finds himself in the town of Bude in Cornwall, boarding with a British family, the Bennetts, until his unit is called up for the Normandy landing. The Bennetts’ beautiful blue-eyed daughter, Elizabeth, is a nurse in training, serving at the local hospital, and she’s fascinated the plain- spoken, unassuming American soldier. They quickly fall in love, with the taciturn Mr. Bennett worrying she’ll get hurt while his wife indulges the romance. Caleb ships out, leaving Elizabeth to wait for his letters (those that make it through) and tend to wounded soldiers, which she does with the devotion and determination she brings to everything. 

Saxon recounts the heroic service of Caleb and his fellow Rangers along with that of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, an all black unit responsible for sending balloons up over the beaches to protect the invasion force from enemy strafing. More than 2,500 American soldiers were killed on D-Day, and thousands more wounded in perhaps the most significant and decisive turning point of the war. While Caleb, his fellow soldiers, and Elizabeth are fictional, they stand in tribute to the service and sacrifice of the Allied forces 80 years ago to ensure our freedoms today. 

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