Ask SAM added to shell 110518

Q: I’ve heard different explanations for what the “D” in D-Day stands for. Can you clarify?


Answer: The term D-Day is generally used to refer to the invasion of Normandy, officially called Operation Overlord, the 75th anniversary of which is today. But it predates that event. The earliest known use of these terms was during World War I.

The D stands for “Day,” according to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation established to maintain “a memorial to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Armed Forces who landed in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.”

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, “The terms D-Day and H-Hour are used for the day and hour on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. They designate day and hour for an operation when the actual day and hour have not yet been determined, or where secrecy is essential.”

Plans for large-scale operations are made long before specific dates are set, the site explains.

“Thus, orders are issued for the various steps to be carried out on the D-day or H-hour minus or plus a certain number or days, hours, or minutes. At the appropriate time, a subsequent order is issued that states the actual day and times.”

The terms are sometimes used in combination with other numbers and plus or minus signs to indicate time before or after the specific action, such as “H-3” meaning three hours before the action and “D+3” meaning three days after it.

The earliest use of these terms by the center found in its research was during World War I. In Field Order No. 9, First Army, American Expeditionary Forces, dated September 7, 1918: “The First Army will attack at H hour on D day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel Salient.”

In the past when SAM has written about this, we have heard from readers who disagree with this answer, claiming the “D” stood for “deployment” or “debarkation,” but that is not the case.

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans says staff has also heard people claiming it stood for “designated day,” “decision day,” “doomsday” or even “death day.”

For more information about the history of D-Day, visit the foundation’s Web site at

Q: Almost every morning for the last week I’ve been getting phone calls from myself, from my own landline. I have not picked up, and no message is left. What could this possibly be about?


Answer: It’s a frustrating, obnoxious scam we have written about before in which scammers use technology to “spoof” your number.

“Scammers use this trick as a way to get around call-blocking and hide from law enforcement,” according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission, which runs the National Do Not Call Registry. “They hope you’ll be curious enough to pick up. Don’t fall for it. The real callers could be calling from anywhere in the world.”

You should ignore the calls, and also make sure that if you have voicemail it is password-protected so the scammer cannot get access to your previous messages, since some voicemail services let you call in from your own number to get the messages.

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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