NORMANDY, France — Every year, service members from across the globe travel to the small, historical village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise in Normandy, France, to honor the brave men and women who took part in Operation Overlord in June of 1944.
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, along with the French and German armies, participated in a ceremony that commemorates and honors the men of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division who lost their lives when their C-47 aircraft was hit by enemy fire.
Col. Mark Denton, commander of Task Force 78 and the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade - Theater, spoke at the ceremony. During Denton’s speech, he talked on the selflessness and impeccable bravery of the men of the famed Easy Company.
“When I imagine the hours leading up to the D-Day landings in June 1944, I think about the brave service members and what must have been going through their mind as they prepared to execute what is still known as the largest ever multinational amphibious landing and military airdrop in history," Denton said.
Almost 78 years to the day, French Soldiers, civilians and government officials still welcome U.S. Soldiers with open arms to their land.
“I feel immense gratitude to the people of France," Denton said at the close of the ceremony. "The people of France welcomed our Soldiers into their towns and communities today, just like they did over 70 years ago."
In recognition of the anniversary of D-Day, Task Force 78 welcomed 30 veterans of World War II back to Normandy. While in France, the veterans will participate in commemoration events. For some veterans, this is the first time they have returned to Normandy since World War II.
The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade - Theater conducts intelligence analysis, collection, and exploitation in support of Southern European Task Force-Africa (SETAFAF) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in order to set the intelligence architecture for the theater, disrupt transnational and transregional threats and promote regional stability in Africa while building and maintaining intelligence readiness. Task Force 78 is responsible for housing, feeding and transporting roughly 600 Soldiers from around the globe to nearly 60 ceremonies across Normandy.