Walk Among Heroes is a podcast where veterans tell their stories. They describe their experiences in combat along with what life was like for them before and after they joined the service. Jeff Wells, an Iraqi Freedom veteran, is the host. For the 75th anniversary of D-Day, he interviewed Ray Lambert. Lambert was a medic with the 1st Infantry Division. He participated in Operation Torch, Operation Husky, and Operation Overlord (D-Day). Lambert landed in the first wave at Omaha Beach. Remarkably, he survived despite being wounded and hit by the steel ramp of a landing craft. Wells shows reverence to Lambert throughout the episode and allows him to tell moving and profound stories.
Ray Lambert’s chapter of Walk Among Heroes begins with the narration of Lambert’s diary by Sam Elliot. Right away, you are astonished by Lambert’s experience at Omaha Beach. Notable parts of the narration include Lambert’s description of Omaha Beach when he landed and as he advanced through the water; losing 24 out of 31 of his comrades from his landing craft; and praying to save one more life when he was sure he was facing certain death. Along with Elliot’s narration, there are combat sounds of machine-gun fire and artillery shells exploding. With the narration and combat noises, you are given an idea of what Omaha Beach must have been like. This introduction is profound and makes you want to listen to more of Lambert’s stories.
Even without landing at Omaha Beach, Lambert saw a lot of action during the Second World War. In his interview with Jeff Wells, you learn how Lambert fought off a German soldier who bayoneted him in North Africa. As if that was not impressive enough, Lambert describes rescuing wounded soldiers in a minefield and treating injured tank crew members in a burning tank in Sicily. Rather than send someone else into the minefield or into a burning tank (he was a Staff Sergeant in charge of 30 men), he rescued his comrades himself. Along with this amazing narrative, he provides leadership advice with his war stories. This includes not ordering someone to do something you would not do yourself, and creating a relationship of mutual trust with subordinates.
By the time the podcast episode gets to the part about D-Day, you are not surprised by the heroic actions he took at Omaha Beach—you learn that courage was in his nature. Though seriously wounded and faced with almost certain death, Lambert prevented numerous soldiers from drowning who were both weighed down by equipment and also wounded. He dragged the wounded to a concrete wall, which became know as Ray’s Rock, and treated scores of injured men there under that cover. When he heard a soldier crying for help in the surf, he rushed to his aid. A landing craft approached this same location and dropped its ramp. Lambert shielded the man with his body and was pushed underwater with him. Luckily, the landing craft lifted its ramp before he and the soldier drowned.
Listening to Walk Among Heroes will give you an appreciation of the selflessness and valor of World War Two veterans. It is an excellent choice of a podcast to commemorate Memorial Day and the 77th anniversary of D-Day. Jeff Wells asks great questions and lets Lambert talk uninterrupted. The result is an astounding podcast episode, with an incredible narration about monumental battles in World War Two.
The Walk Among Heroes episode with Ray Lambert is in two parts. It can be listened to on podcast apps including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. It can also be listened to online at Apple P——odcasts.
The book referred to in the podcast is Every Man a Hero by Ray Lambert. It can be placed on hold and picked up at the Yonkers Public Library.