News happening around Little Rock Air Force Base

News

Culmination of Honor: D-Day 75 Years Later

NORMANDY, France --

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of the liberty-loving people everywhere march with you … we will accept nothing less than full victory,” said U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied Forces.

Now, 75 years later, Eisenhower’s words still echo to remind the world of the magnitude of the D-Day landings and the heroism of those who committed to wading onto beaches to rush headlong into heavy oppositional fire, to flying through flak to face enemy attack from the skies and below, and to parachuting into a hostile countryside all to end tyranny of the Axis powers and liberate Europe.

The commemorative event of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day aimed at a simple goal: remembering the commitment, sacrifice and human toll of world conflict and vowing never to repeat such an undertaking by honoring those who brought it to an end.

“It's about keeping the flame alive," said retired U.S. Army Major General John Raaen, D-Day survivor who scaled Pointe du Hoc, France. "Most of us don't want to be forgotten, and this is a way for a large group of people not to be forgotten. Those that didn’t come home, they are the real heroes."

Squadrons from the 19th and 314th airlift wings, from Little Rock Air Force, Arkansas, participated in the week-long tribute to this historic event along with other U.S. units and coalition forces. The commemorative events opened June 5, with a diamond-formation flight over Pointe de Hoc, while U.S. Army Rangers scaled the cliffs. Not only were these events a showcase of the legacy continued by the U.S. military forces, but it also represented the massive scale of Operation Overlord.

With less than 620,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II still alive, approximately 170 veterans traveled to Normandy for the commemorative events.

“We are gathered here on freedom’s altar, on these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty,” said President of the United States Donald Trump. “Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.”

“To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live,” Trump continued. “You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic.  And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The veterans who were present for this year’s memorial events vividly recounted stories of the D-Day landings and the ensuing battles to liberate Nazi-held Europe. Their stories served as a reminder to those currently serving of the responsibility of wearing the uniform.

“Seeing and hearing the history of what happened by actually being here, there is no better way to learn,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Cason Soat, 61st Airlift Squadron pilot. “To be able to put on display the flights of the C-130 as we drop paratroopers over La Fiere Drop Zone shows we still remember and respect those that came before us—the importance of it never being forgotten.”

The final movement Team Little Rock participated in was the culmination of the D-Day commemorative events--a mass-formation flight performed by the 41st, 61st and 62nd airlift squadrons along with 30 other aircraft from various units from six nations June 9, 2019. The airdrop was the largest over Normandy since World War II. More than 1,350 U.S. service members, civilians and coalition Allied paratroopers descended over La Fiere Drop Zone on the outskirts of Sainte-Mère-Église, the first liberated town in France. The Iron Mike monument looks over the area and serves as a constant reminder of the events that ultimately served to liberate the Normandy coastline and countryside.

“The ability for us to come out here and show some respect where we can and be humbled in the whole experience while being able to learn so much has been incredible,” Soat said. “We are better Airmen and people because of this experience.”

From past experiences to future generations, this 75th Anniversary of D-Day is more than another day to reflect--it’s a day that will be long remembered as a culmination of honor and respect. Their legacy lives on in today’s units as Airmen use the C-130J to conduct rapid global mobility to support commandant commands and aid in humanitarian crises.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Photo Gallery: Week in Review

News Search