NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – His World War II veteran cap is the only visible clue to what Pascual Flores, 96, did long before he came to live at a New Braunfels nursing home.
Flores was barely in his 20s, the only child of a single parent in San Marcos, when he joined the Army.
Initially trained as an infantryman, Flores later became a combat medic, or corpsman, as they were known.
But Flores said nothing could have prepared him for the carnage on Normandy Beach 74 years ago.
Moments after landing, Flores said he saw the soldier in front of him literally blown to pieces after hitting a mine.
"If I think about it day after day, I'd go crazy," Flores said, his voice weak, but filled with emotion.
"He had to continue going to help the other ones who needed help," said Sandy Morales, a deacon at the church Flores attended and a longtime friend. "The other ones he couldn't help, he just looked at them."
Flores said he would say a quick prayer before moving on to the next wounded soldier.
But Flores said there was only so much he could do as German snipers mowed down soldier after soldier, hitting them in their "legs, arms, side of the neck."
"Oh, it was terrible," Flores said.
He said many of the soldiers who were wounded on the beach that day were buddies of his, and he hated to see them die "when they're young."
"I've been through a lot of things in my life," Flores said. "I'm still here and the good Lord saved me."
Morales said he believes Flores' mother waiting for his safe return was a big reason he survived.
"It gave him the courage to come back," Morales said.
WATCH: Medical service in the invasion of Normandy