A Detroit native who'd managed to enlist even though he was underweight and not yet eighteen, Fournier dodged German snipers in the weeks after the invasion. But his closest brush with death came later, while visiting a friend in London. "All of a sudden there was a big kaboom," he recalls. "His apartment had been bombed!" Debris blocked the door; frantically, the two men kicked it open. An air raid warden directed them to a crowded stone cellar. Fournier was startled when a woman said to him, "Yank, you're bleeding," and tied a cloth around his forehead.
"Everyone gathered around," Fournier recalls, "asking, 'Are you all right, Yank? Are you all right?' Then they started to sing, 'There'll always be an England.'
"It was so emotional. I was singing at the top of my lungs with them."
Fournier survived two more amphibious landings, in New Guinea and the Philippines. In August 1945, he and 10,000 other men were camped on a beach, getting ready to invade Japan. By then, "We were all battle weary," he recalls, "wondering 'What if my time's run out?'" When Japan's surrender was announced, "The first thing we did was go to the edge of the ocean and throw our grenades in to see to see how many fish we could blow up!" Exhilarated, the men kept firing their weapons until their commanders confiscated their ammunition.