NORMANDY, France — The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade - Theater (MIB-T) operated as the mission command element with tactical control and operations oversight of nearly 60 ceremonies and events that honor and commemorate the 78th Anniversary of D-Day in Saint Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, May 24 to June 7.
Maj. Cameron Ek, officer in charge, Task Force 78; Capt. Thomas Brown, battle captain; and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Corbett led a team of 23 Soldiers from the 207th MIB-T in support of approximately 60 events and ceremonies honoring the countless Veterans who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in June 1944, as part of Operation Overlord.
The Task Force 78 mission command element enabled units from across the globe to participate in meaningful ceremonies by planning and coordinating the transportation to memorial sites, housing and feeding of Soldiers, and ensuring the overall wellbeing of the 19 participating units. With roughly 600 Soldiers deploying to one location, including the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division, the task force was presented with a complex set of logistical issues.
Maj. Curtis Radoff and his team collaborated with French citizens on a day-to-day basis to ensure Soldiers living on the logistics support area (LSA) had access to proper living areas, food, and transportation.
“One of the biggest logistical challenges I encountered was ensuring the LSA was ready to receive all of the Soldiers who would be staying on the LSA,” said Radoff. “Because of the transportation challenges throughout Europe, several of the shower trailers arrived past the required arrival time, however, by the end of the mission we received more shower trailers than we originally needed.”
D-Day is a time to mourn and celebrate, not only for us, but for our French counterparts. This is the day the French began to see a light at the end of the tunnel after years of Nazi occupation. This is an important time for all of us, and we cannot forget.
Knowing the importance of these ceremonies to the locals and Veterans of Normandy, Ek, Brown, and Corbett worked endless hours to ensure that all mission requirements were filled.
“This mission presented a unique set of challenges that we’ve never faced before, and therefore, this was a great opportunity for us to grow professionally and build the Lightning Brigade Team,” Ek said at the close of the mission. “I’m really proud of the team for the countless hours they put in and how each individual volunteered to assist in any way possible to ensure we executed the mission to honor those that served here.”
Over the course of two weeks, Soldiers from the 207th MIB-T had the privilege to sit down and meet with local leaders, families, and members of other NATO armed forces. While honoring the men and women who gave their lives on D-Day together, the Soldiers of Task Force 78 strengthened friendships between our NATO allies and partners. Being a part of an extraordinary event like this is something that a Soldier will never forget and may never have the opportunity to do again.
Task Force 78 Commander, Col. Mark Denton, commander, 207th MIB-T, and Command Sgt. Maj. Maurice Parker stressed to the task force the importance of the mission, and what their priorities are.
“This was our brigade’s number one priority,” said Denton. “We can accept risk in other areas, but not with Task Force 78.”
Parker traveled to countless ceremonies across Normandy to ensure that the representation and symbolism of our nation and others’ was presented properly, professionally, and with the utmost respect.
“As the Task Force 78 Command Sergeant Major, I will ensure we conduct every ceremony with discipline deserving of our WWII veterans,” said Parker. “Every movement and salute will be in honor of the men who stormed the beaches, and scaled the cliffs, all in the name of freedom.”
The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade Theater conducts intelligence analysis, collection, and exploitation in support of Southern European Task Force-Africa (SETAF AF) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in order to set the intelligence architecture for the theater, disrupt trans-national and trans-regional threats and promote regional stability in Africa while building and maintaining intelligence readiness.