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75th Anniversary

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. As you enjoy another day, please think about all of the troops that landed on the Normandy beaches and the sacrifices they made to help end World War II.

The Geer Family is proud to have had one of the greatest generation soldiers in our family. James Gaff is Richard Geer’s Cousin-In-Law and served on that perilous day in 1944.

Jim passed away on January 7, 2015 and is greatly missed by his family and friends. Below is an article highlighting his story as published on January 23, 2015 on jacksonville.com

James Gaff holds The American Spirit Award

June 6, 1944: The Longest Day raged. Swarms of soldiers rushed the coastline of northern France in an effort to quell Germany’s hold. Bullets, from comrades and enemies, pierced the air.

Amid the fighting and bloodshed, boatswain’s mate James Gaff, just 18, piloted his Higgins boat. For days, for more than 50 round trips, he worked tirelessly. He carried fresh troops to combat, and casualties back to the ship. Vessels sank in the waters around him, but he would an event that would claim about 10,000 Allied lives.

Jim was a Navy coxswain at D-Day and received The Spirit of Hope Award medallion as shown above. The Spirit of Hope Award is presented to individuals or organizations that embody the core values of Mr. Bob Hope, who gave generously to the military men and women for over five decades.

Born in Providence, R.I., on Jan. 25, 1926, Gaff enlisted in the military after his junior year of high school. During his time in the Navy, he participated in the Normandy landings, the Battle of the Bulge and volunteered to join the invasion of Japan. The war ended before he had to make due on his commitment, and Gaff was discharged.

Special for Shorelines This photo shows a 36-foot LCVP – a “Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel” or a Higgins boat – like one that D-Day veteran Gaff piloted to the Normandy beaches during World War II.
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