Story and photos by
Senior Airman Devin Boyer
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PICAUVILLE, France — Ramstein Airmen joined U.S. Army, U.K., German, French, and several other military and civilian organizations to remember and commemorate the 73rd Anniversary of D-Day in events across the region from May 31 to June 7.
In Picauville, France, Allied forces who liberated the area following the D-Day landings at Normandy were honored. These forces established a temporary airfield just outside of the community following the Normandy invasion.
“Picauville does not require a history lesson on the importance of liberty and the need to preserve it at all costs,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Aalborg, Air Attaché to France. “This town lives with the reminder of it every single day. It is a link between our prosperity and our posterity. It is a privilege much like the wind. It may appear invisible to the naked eye, but it is an ever-present force.
Soldiers from the same units as the ones who stormed the beaches of Normandy had a chance to participate in the ceremony. Some even walked away feeling inspired.
“I had the opportunity to eat dinner with a family and one of the locals that served us, he was actually 10 years old when everything transpired, and he gave us vivid details of things he remembered,” said Spc. Christopher Valentine, 29th Infantry Division generator mechanic, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. “That was a piece of history that I wouldn’t be able to receive otherwise, so that was very rewarding.”
To commemorate the ceremony, the 37th Airlift Squadron from Ramstein, and the 815 AS from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, flew four C-130s over Picauville.
“It was for all of us that the brave men and women we remember here today said no to tyranny 73 years ago,” Aalborg said. “They were not looking to fight, but they willingly answered the nation’s call, and in some cases gave their last full measure of devotion.”