Doc Mcilvoy

The Way We Were

Michel de Trez

Date Published :
January 2005
Publisher :
D-Day Publishing
Series :
WWII American Paratroopers Portrait Series
Illustration :
full color throughout
No associated books available.


Doc McIlvoy was with the 505th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division since the first day of its existence, except for a period of two days while being missing in action in Normandy. Through the story of Doc McIlvoy is retold the story of the 505th Medical Detachment. As a Battalion Surgeon and later as a Regimental Surgeon, Dan McIlvoy instituted many new methods of evacuating casualties. Many of his suggestions for improving care of the wounded and evacuation, were adopted by the Army Medical Corps. Throughout his entire service Major McIlvoy supervised the treatment of several hundred battle casualties and he was responsible for saving great numbers of lives and limbs of members of his command through great initiative, skill and untiring devotion to duty.

Among the revealing stories of heroism in World War II is that of Colonel Vandervoort, who led his battalion of paratroopers to victory on D-Day despite the fact that his ankle was broken when he dropped on Sainte-Mère-Eglise. His coolness, outstanding courage and initiative, his dogged determination contributed to the success of the missions he was given and its superior tenacity reflected the highest traditions held by United States Army Officers. Throughout the war, he had a repution of being a commander who could take on any job and do it well, no matter how though the opposition or how limited his own means were. He had also the reputation for being such an able fighting force that he could accomplish his combat tasks with a minimum of casualties.

Colonel Vandervoort's role in the D-Day campaign was immortalized when actor John Wayne portrayed him in Hollywood's epic "The Longest Day", based on the best seller by Cornelius Ryan. His name is still a legend today. Vandervoort was described by General Matthew B. Ridgway, then Commander of the 82nd and later to become Army Chief of Staff, as "one of the bravest, toughest battle commanders I ever knew." Oliver B. Carr, a lieutenant who fought under Vandervoort's leadership in Normandy stated: "he had the respect of every man in the outfit. He was very brave and was very calm in situations where it was extremely hard to remain calm."