Flying Jennies take part in D-Day 72nd anniversary events
By Master Sgt. Jessica L. Kendziorek, 403rd Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 06, 2016
NORMANDY, France --
C-130's were seen flying over many towns, villages, and historical sites near here Friday in honor of the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day today.
The U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 815th Airlift Squadron, along with 400 U.S. troops, participated in several ceremonial events Wednesday through Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history.
U.S. European Command established Task Force D-Day 72 to lead U.S. forces’ participation, which included representation from eight historical units, to include the 815th AS, which participated in the June 6, 1944 campaign. In 1944, more than 160,000 allied troops landed on the French coast line to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy. The then 815th Bombardment Squadron, flew the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supported the invasion, according to the Army.mil website.
Seventy-two years later, from the sky looking down, 1st Lt. Will Garey, 815th AS pilot, said that he could see the flashes from the many cameras pointed upward taking photos as they flew over the town of Sainte-Mère-Église during the re-enactment ceremony Friday. This was one of many ceremonial events in honor of the 9,000 Allied soldiers who were killed and wounded during the invasion that allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to make their way across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler’s regime.
After completing the fly-overs, 815th AS aircrew members went into Sainte-Mère-Église to visit with the local community and other visiting service members.
John and Esther Van Vlaardingen, Netherland residents and D-Day role play actors, said that the fly-over was great and looked good. The D-Day re-enactors were given a tour of the 815th AS C-130J before the fly-overs began Friday.
"It was great to see our friends from the "Flying Jennies" again," said John. "We met Mark (Maj. Mark Suckow, 815th AS pilot) seven years ago and he gave me a coin. Never thought we would meet him again and to also get a tour."
The fly-overs are one part of the commemoration. The 815th AS provided transport for military airborne troops for the drop Sunday. The airborne troops' jump was in remembrance of the service members who served during World War II.