Former Janesville resident Joe Reilly is in Normandy, France, for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

He served as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division and jumped into the D-Day invasion to free Europe from Nazi occupation June 6, 1944.

The 93-year-old was in New York earlier this year and was interviewed by NBC's anchor Brian Williams for a TV special on D-Day. The show will air at 7 p.m. Friday.

NBC did not confirm whether Reilly will be in the final program.

Reilly's first battle jump with the Screaming Eagles came in the first hours of the invasion, when he hit the ground behind the Normandy beaches.

He is quoted in “The Hero Next Door: Stories from Wisconsin's World War II Veterans” as saying:

“It is difficult to put into words what it means to go into combat, to lay your life on the line every day,” Reilly said. “The only comfort is knowing other paratroopers will back you to the last man.”

Reilly relocated from Janesville to San Diego several years ago. He was born and raised in Janesville and worked in a factory in Delavan before entering in the Army in 1943.

Near the end of his basic training, Reilly signed up for jump school to become a paratrooper.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse