What a better way to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day then by jumping into Normandy?
Green Berets assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducted static line and free-fall parachute drops on a drop zone in Normandy, France, last week. The Air Force’s 352nd Special Operations Wing and 86th Airlift Wing provided three MC-130J Commando II aircraft for the drop. In total, close 135 American paratroopers jumped, some with the exact same gear their forefathers used on D-Day.
“Overall it was a great jump. It was smooth and went as planned,” said a Green Beret from the 10th SFG in a statement to DVIDS. “It’s an outstanding experience to be able to honor the paratroopers who jumped into France during World War II.”
The local mayor, David Nicholas, said: “We invited them because it’s a very good opportunity to have them jump at Avranches to start the World War II commemorations and celebrations leading up to the anniversary of the liberation of Avranches. It’s also good because today we are opening a new exhibition about World War II in Normandy at the history museum.”
The 10th SFG was the first Special Forces Group to be activated in 1952. Its area of operations includes Europe and North Africa. It has a battalion forward-deployed to Germany.
Representing the French military, Sgt. Maj. Pierre-Andre Integlia, who is the senior non-commissioned officer of the French airborne section of the French Military Academy, said: “We’re here to facilitate the exercise, and work in accordance with the civilian authorities as part of the French and American partnership for D-Day celebrations. It’s a privilege to help commemorate the Allied veterans and their part in the liberation of France.”
Another 10th SFG operator said the jump was a way to trace back their unit’s lineage, and specifically Jedburgh teams of the Office of Strategic Services, which is considered the predecessor of both the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command.
“We’re celebrating their combined effort to liberate Western Europe with local forces,” added the operator, who had to remain anonymous for operational security reasons. “The airborne operation celebrates the long relationship between America and France and 10th SFG’s commitment to continuing the tradition of training and working with our allies in Europe.”
In addition to these commemorative jumps, 600 movie theaters across the U.S. will be screening the critically acclaimed movie, “Saving Private Ryan.”
Feature image: A Special Forces soldier from the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prepares to land on the drop zone near Mont Saint Michel, Avranches, France on May 18, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexis K. Washburn).