WJTV News Channel 12 - DURHAM: D-Day veteran throws out first pitch for the Durham Bull

D-Day veteran throws out first pitch for the Durham Bulls

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Dub Karriker was in the second wave that landed on Omaha Beach early in the morning June 6, 1944. Dub Karriker was in the second wave that landed on Omaha Beach early in the morning June 6, 1944.
Dub and Louise Karriker Friday at the DBAP. Dub and Louise Karriker Friday at the DBAP.
DURHAM, N.C. -

A man who took part of the largest amphibious invasion in history was honored Friday at the Durham Bulls game.

Dub Karriker was in the second wave that landed on Omaha Beach early in the morning June 6, 1944.

He was shot in the ankle during the landing. Omaha Beach saw some of the fiercest fighting during the invasion. The Allies’ attempt to bomb the Nazi’s Atlantic Wall defenses at Omaha was thrown off by poor visibility.

“He was shot that day because he was running as fast as he could trying not to get killed," said his son, Dub Karriker.

Now 94 years old, Dub Karriker said he spent a year in the hospital following the invasion.

His wife Louise worked as an inspector at an ammunition factory during the war.

"I said, 'Listen, I've got one over there and a lot of people over there. We're going to make sure this is done right,'" Louise Karriker said.

Dub Karriker’s physical wound healed but the emotional toll continued.

"Well, you can't forget it, but you can kind of live with it. It doesn't bother me like it used to,” he said. “When I first came out (of the war), I dreamed about it every night."

His son said he only found out about his dad’s presence at Omaha Beach about a year and a half ago.

After the war, Dub Karriker spent the next 60 years coaching baseball, which is why the veteran looked comfortable throwing out the first pitch Friday for the Bulls.

"Oh, that was his outlet. He almost became like a different person during baseball season because he enjoyed it so much," Louise Karriker said.

Dub Karriker’s son said coaching baseball was a way to cope with the war.

"Being able to go out and spend time with those young men and be able to pour into their lives and help them through their difficulties, it was definitely therapy for him," Dub Karriker’s son said.

Dub Karriker and his wife of 72 years moved to the Durham area about a year ago from Arkansas to be closer to family.

His advice for younger generations?

“They should know nothing comes easy,” he said.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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