Brainerd High School Veterans Ceremony
Brainerd High School students and the community at large sat down Friday to hear how Bob Uppgaard helped make sure U.S. troops had enough supplies with which to kill Nazis. Uppgaard, 94, was the featured speaker at the annual Veterans Day ceremony inside the high school gymnasium. At age 19, Uppgaard joined the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions, more commonly known as the Seabees. His experience during World War II was extremely rare: he served in both the European and Pacific theaters of the conflict. In the lead-up to the Normandy landings in 1944, Uppgaard and the rest of the 97th Seabee Battalion helped build one of the artificial harbors that would ensure the largest invasion in military history was adequately reinforced following D-Day itself. The site Allied planners picked for the invasion wasn’t close to a port that could receive shipments of supplies, so they decided to bring their own port with them.