SAINTE MERE EGLISE, France -- Near the Normandy beaches Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, federal employees and contractors from across Europe and the United States are now living and working under the same roof, so to speak.
U.S Army Europe units coordinated the construction of a Life Support Area -- a tent city that provides sleeping areas, a mess tent, showers, latrines, a medical aid station and administrative areas for personnel participating in events marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. It will serve as a temporary home for more than 600 servicemembers and government civilians involved in honoring the allied forces that stormed the Normandy beaches and helped bring an end to World War II.
"The LSA saves the Army money and provides a command and control center where we can have greater accountability for our servicemembers while they're here," said Maj. Josielyn Carrasquillo of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, who is the officer in charge of the LSA.
Construction of the LSA began May 17 with an advance party of 17 Soldiers from the 21st TSC, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Soldiers worked with German contractors from Fuduric Contracting to assemble the LSA and have it operational for hundreds of incoming servicemembers. Six large tents make up the LSA with separate sleeping, shower and bathroom areas for men and women, and a dining facility that can seat 300 diners at a time and serves two meals a day.
Adjacent to the living areas of the LSA is a Joint Information Bureau equipped to handle 140 print, television and radio reporters at one time as well as serving as headquarters here to a team of military and DoD civilian journalists and visual information specialists documenting and covering the commemoration for military news outlets.
The LSA was completed May 31.
"Everything has gone smoothly assembling the LSA," said Master Sgt. Mariano Alvarez, supply and logistics directorate sergeant major for the 21st TSC. "Having everyone in one location at the LSA makes sense logistically. Organizing and transporting servicemembers where they need to be for events this week is easier."
"Living at the LSA we are in the center of Sainte Mere Eglise and able to meet local people from town," added Sgt. Sade Harris from the 21st TSC. "I've met veterans who parachuted onto the Normandy beaches during the D-Day invasion here. It's giving me an appreciation for the history of the town and World War II."
Sainte Mere Eglise was the first town to be liberated by Allied Forces following the D-day invasion, and in the LSA 65 years later the ties between allied forces can still be seen.
"There are 26 French Soldiers who are helping provide security patrols with our American Soldiers at the LSA," said Carrasquillo. "Living at the LSA servicemembers can interact and experience the culture and history of our allies."