Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: 149th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • Location of Service: Camp McCain, Mississippi; Camp Pickett, Virginia; Normandy, France; Belgium; Germany; European Theater
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant

View full service history

"We dashed ashore and as a machine gun burst overhead I hit the sand. I looked to my left at the man laying next to me and I found he was dead." (Letter from Preston Bagent to his wife Carol, "Darling," 5/18/1945)

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Staff Sergeant Preston Earl Bagent worked as a draftsman and artist before joining the Army in 1943. The military made good use of his engineering skills, assigning him to the newly-created 149th Engineer Combat Battalion. After his transfer overseas and training in England, he got his "first taste of combat" on June 6, 1944. Bagent later documented his harrowing journey from his landing craft to Omaha Beach in an evocative series of drawings and letters to his wife. Following D-Day, his unit traveled from France to Belgium, Holland, and Germany, fixing roads and building bridges.

[ Photo Album ]

More Resources

[ Enlisted Record and Report of Separation ]
[ Honorable Discharge ]
[ Separation Qualification Record ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/15/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [1/11/1944] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [10/10/1944] ]

Show more resources (28)

[ Letter to "Darling" [6/24/1944] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/17/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/18/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/16/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/22/1945] ]
[ Fragment of letter [n.d.] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [4/8/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/2/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [5/27/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [8/8/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [10/16/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [10/22/1945] ]
[ Letter to "Darling" [10/27/1945] ]
[ Typewritten letter to Carol [11/4/1945] ]
[ Cartoon, "They must have awfully good food…" ]
[ Cartoon, "Make it good, it's for my wife." ]
[ Fragment of letter with art work [5/29/1944] ]
[ Fragment of letter with art work [4/28/1945] ]
[ Fragment of letter with art work [n.d.] ]
[ Fragment of letter with art work [9/7/1945] ]
[ Cartoon of the veteran on D-Day ]
[ Cartoon drawn for the "Safety Bulletin" at the veteran's civilian job ]
[ Cartoon: "But Honey, you can't put S/Sergeants on KP." ]
[ 149th Engineer Combat Battalion Insignia ]
[ Drawing depicting U.S. soldiers advancing against enemy fire somewhere in Europe ]
[ Art work depicting soldiers and a bulldozer against the backdrop of the ruins of a church ]
[ Art work depicting a scene from D-Day, with soldiers advancing up a beach while a bulldozer forges ahead ]
[ Art work depicting U.S. soldiers taking the beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 ]

About this Item

Title

  • Preston Earl Bagent Collection

Names

  • Bagent, Robert
  • Bagent, Preston Earl

State of Birth

  • MO

Home State

  • IL

Headings

  • -  Bagent, Preston Earl
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: 149th Engineer Combat Battalion
    • Location of Service: Camp McCain, Mississippi; Camp Pickett, Virginia; Normandy, France; Belgium; Germany; European Theater
    • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1945
    • Entrance into Service: Drafted
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Manuscript: Creative works [15 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected [1943 - 1945])
  • Manuscript: Correspondence [17 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected 1944 - 1945)
  • Manuscript: Military papers (orders, personnel/201 files, etc) [2 items] -- Typewritten document (collected 12/08/1945)
  • Computer File: CD [1 item] -- Multiple types of electronic files (collected 1943 - 1945)
  • Photograph: Digital print [60 items] -- Photograph (collected [1943 - 1945])

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/46886

Cite as

  • Preston Earl Bagent Collection (AFC/2001/001/46886), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bagent, Robert, and Preston Earl Bagent. Preston Earl Bagent Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.46886/.

APA citation style:

Bagent, R. & Bagent, P. E. (1943) Preston Earl Bagent Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.46886/.

MLA citation style:

Bagent, Robert, and Preston Earl Bagent. Preston Earl Bagent Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.46886/>.