NORMANDY, France — Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 5th Quartermaster Detachment played a major role in this year’s commemoration ceremonies, remembering the 67th anniversary of the D-Day invasions in Normandy. They took part by participating in more than 10 ceremonies honoring past veterans of World War II with dedications and memorials while admirably representing their unit.
But perhaps the best way the 5th QM Det. Soldiers were able to represent the 21st TSC and the U.S. Army, was at the homes and dinner tables of the families and citizens of Normandy.
In an effort to show appreciation to the service members who participated in the commemoration and the actions of the Allied forces in liberating France 67 years ago, nearly 50 families from the towns of Picauville, Carentan and Montebourg opened up their homes for dinner to nearly 300 service members here, June 2.
Every year during the anniversary, local families open not only their homes, but their hearts to service members of all the Allied nations.
“You are the grandchildren of the people who arrived here in 1944,” said Stuart Giles, a Picauville native who invited three Soldiers to his home for dinner. “To extend the hospitality to our allies is a very good thing. You’re welcome into our home anytime.”
The 5th QM Det. Soldiers split up into small groups and went to the homes of approximately 20 families in Picauville.
While dining with the local populace, Soldiers were able to get a feel for the deep appreciation that the citizens of Normandy have for them as many of the families went above and beyond to accommodate the service members by planning activities like horseback riding, showing them family museums and playing board games.
“We had a family actually come and almost adopt us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Herschel L. Gillins, a parachute rigger with the 5th QM Det. “We traded Facebook information and e-mail addresses, they let us ride their horse, and they basically treated us like family.”
“You are all welcome here, Soldiers, Sailors, American, British, French, you are welcome into my house and you can sit, eat and drink with us until your heart’s content,” Mr. Giles said. “It’s a privilege to have you here, and as far as I can say, as long as I’m alive you are more than welcome to come back year after year after year. You will never be turned away from our door.”