Joseph Raymond Goulet, a veteran who landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day, has died.
The New Hampshire resident died on July 4. He was 99 years old.
Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to parents who emigrated from Canada, Goulet voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, according to an obituary. His math and organizational skills led him to the Army Service Forces – now the Army Quartermaster Corps.
When Army officials realized Goulet spoke and read French fluently, he was sent to the Army’s 1st Infantry Division to use those language skills to connect with local French leaders and help open up routes to army objectives in the interior after the invasion.
On June 6, 1944, he landed with the first wave of the 1st Infantry Division at Omaha Beach, but never ended up having to use his French skills.
On this day, 75 years ago, more than 150,000 Allied soldiers were on board ships and planes heading for the Normandy coast to liberate France from fascism.
During the rapid advance towards Germany, Goulet drove trucks loaded with fuel, ammunition, and other necessary supplies to the advancing front lines. He became a member of what became known as the “Red-Ball Express” which ran truck convoys nonstop regardless of enemy, weather, or other obstacles.
For much of the rest of his life, Goulet carried the same old, weathered leather wallet that accompanied him everywhere throughout the war.
After the war, he held several jobs in the power supply industry before retiring and settling permanently in New Hampshire.
In January 2021, Goulet was at the center of a birthday celebration outside the Margeson Flats, where he lived, according to the Portsmouth Herald.
Aged 98 at the time, Goulet had planned to spend his birthday alone at his residence because of the coronavirus pandemic. A social media push led to 3,000 birthday cards being written and sent, including from all 50 states and as far away as Afghanistan.
Goulet is survived by several children and grandchildren.