Lt. Col. Robert Lee Wolverton commanded the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, from 1942 until his death on D-Day, 6 June 1944. He was born in Elkins, Randolph County, West Virginia on 5 October 1914. In Deliver Us From Darkness, Ian Gardner writes: "Colonel Wolverton was much loved by the men and had felt compelled to speak candidly to them before boarding the aircraft for France. Every single man had been touched in some way by his incredibly poignant and emotive words."
Before the Normandy Landing the men were called together, and they stood in an orchard on either side of a low earthen mound which fenced the fields. Upon the earthen hedgerow stood Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd battalion, 506th PIR. And the colonel said:"Men, I am not a religious man and I don't know your feelings in this matter, but I am going to ask you to pray with me for the success of the mission before us. And while we pray, let us get on our knees and not look down but up with faces raised to the sky so that we can see God and ask his blessing in what we are about to do."God almighty, in a few short hours we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join battle afraid. We do not ask favors or indulgence but ask that, if You will, use us as Your instrument for the right and an aid in returning peace to the world."We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We ask only this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right."Oh Lord, protect our loved ones and be near us in the fire ahead and with us now as we pray to you."All were silent for two minutes as the men were left, each with his individual thoughts. Then the colonel ordered, "Move out."A few hours later, Wolverton was killed by German machine gun fire in an orchard outside St. Come-du-Mont, Normandy, France.
After the war, LTC Wolverton's body was disinterred and moved to the West Point Military Academy post cemetery.