Elisha Ray Nance, D-Day vet from noted Va. Guard unit
ROANOKE, Va. - Elisha Ray Nance, the last survivor of a Virginia National Guard company that had high D-Day losses on Omaha Beach, has died. He was 94.
Mr. Nance died Sunday in Bedford, said a spokesman at Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory.
He was among 38 National Guardsmen from the close-knit community of Bedford who were in Company A of the 116th Infantry, a spokeswoman at the National D-Day Memorial Foundation said.
On June 6, 1944, 19 members of the unit were killed when they landed on Omaha Beach at the start of the D-Day invasion. Two more died later.
The great loss from a town of 3,200 and its surrounding area led to Bedford's selection as the site of the national D-Day Memorial.
Mr. Nance went home when he left the Army in 1944.
He became a postal carrier, said Shannon Brooks, a spokeswoman for the D-Day foundation who works in the archives.
To honor his fallen brethren, Mr. Nance reorganized Company A of the Virginia National Guard in Bedford, and he was its first commander after World War II.