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Colonel James Earl Rudder (1910-1970)

Colonel James Earl Rudder was a decorated military officer known for his leadership and bravery during World War II. He played a significant role in the D-Day invasion at Normandy and had a distinguished military career.

Rudder commanded the United States Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. Under his leadership, the Rangers were tasked with scaling the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, a critical German gun battery position overlooking Utah Beach. Despite facing heavy resistance and challenging terrain, Rudder and his men successfully scaled the cliffs and neutralized the German defenses.

Their actions at Pointe du Hoc were crucial in securing the beachhead for the Allied forces during the D-Day invasion. Rudder’s leadership, courage, and strategic planning were instrumental in the success of this mission.

After the war, Rudder continued his service in the military and eventually became president of Texas A&M University. He is remembered as a highly respected military leader and an influential figure in both the military and educational spheres. The bravery and determination displayed by Rudder and his Rangers at Pointe du Hoc remain an enduring symbol of valor in military history.