Captain of amphibious truck reconnected with childhood friend during D-Day invasion

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 2, 2014 

D-Day veteran, Bellingham

Carl Snow, left, who later owned a Ford dealership in Lynden, ran into Warren Detrick, a close childhood friend from Ohio, while they were serving in separate military units on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

SHARON (SNOW) COCHRANE — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Carl Snow likely expected intense fighting when his amphibious truck landed at Utah Beach for the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944, to retake Europe from Hitler and the Nazis.

But it's hard to imagine he expected bumping into a childhood buddy once he came ashore.

Snow was an Army captain with the 462nd Amphibian Truck Company. In another military unit was Warren Detrick, a next-door friend from their boyhood days in Springfield, Ohio.

"Remarkably, he survived," Sharon (Snow) Cochrane of Bellingham said of her father. "Even more remarkable, he ran into his old friend."

Snow was in the Army before World War II broke out. He met his wife, who hailed from Port Angeles, at an officer's club at Fort Lewis and they married 13 days later, Cochrane said.

During the war, Snow served in the South Pacific and North Africa as well as in the European theater. After the war, he served in the Army reserves, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

For D-Day, Snow commanded an amphibious military truck known as a DUKW (a name, by the way, that reflects a manufacturer's code, not an acronym).

With the arrival of peace, Snow moved to California and then to Sequim to pursue his work as an accountant. He settled in Lynden in 1954 when the opportunity arose to buy a Ford dealership there.

"He knew nothing about Lynden," Cochrane said. "We're not Dutch."

Snow died of leukemia in 1969 when he was just 51. Cochrane still wonders if he was put at risk of the disease from his close proximity to Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Cochrane knew little about her father's war service until her mother happened to mention D-Day about 20 years ago.

"I knew he was in the Army, but never knew in exactly what capacity, as he never talked about the war and he died at the very early age," she said.

Her father stayed in contact with Detrick after the war and gave Cochrane's older brother the middle name of Warren to honor his longtime friend. Her father also visited Detrick whenever he traveled to Ohio for family get-togethers, she said.

Cochrane later learned her father had been awarded medals by the French government.

"I knew my father was brave," she said, "but I never knew how much."

Contact Dean Kahn at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2291.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service