Remembering D-Day: Honoring the fallen

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, watch as a C-130J Super Hercules flies over the International Cemetery in Normandy, France, June 6, 2021. The cemetery was one of three locations selected for flyovers during the 77th anniversary of D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes)

Six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to Ramstein Air Base, flew over the beaches of Normandy, France, June 6, during the 77th anniversary of D-Day.

In 1944, more than 150,000 soldiers from the Allied Forces stormed Normandy Beach in what is known as the largest seaborne invasion in history. Approximately 4,000 Allied soldiers lost their lives, and the battle changed the course of World War ll.

Among the valiant men who invaded the 50-mile stretch of beaches were soldiers from the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron from the Royal Air Force Station in Cottesmore, England.

To pay tribute to the brave soldiers who fought on that unforgettable day, the 37th Airlift Squadron, legacy squadron of 37th TCS, conducts annual flyovers over Normandy Beach, France.

“Being able to honor all of the sacrifices that were made on D-Day and the fact that we’re able to pay tribute to that now gives me chills,” said Capt. Matthew Frizzell, 37th AS C-130J Super Hercules instructor pilot. “The ability to commemorate D-Day with our allied nation in France in this way is a dream for pilots and hopefully the generations that follow will continue to do that.”

The 37th AS invited Airmen from the 86th Medical Support Squadron to participate in the flyovers as a way to thank them for their diligence in getting planes off the ground during the pandemic.

Senior Airman Daniel Powers, 86th Maintenance Group aircraft structural maintainer, listens to a D-Day anniversary pre-flight brief at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 6, 2021. Approximately 4,000 soldiers from the Allied forces died fighting tyranny June 6, 1944.

“If they didn’t go above and beyond their duty, missions would not have gone, cargo would not have been moved and passengers would not have been transported,” said Maj. Joseph Abrams, 37th AS flight surgeon. “So I wanted to say ‘Thanks’ and this was a way that we made that happen.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 86th MSS ensured Airmen were tested and quarantined allowing Ramstein Air Base to continue its mission as the Global Gateway.

“It’s very exciting, getting to see a part of history that definitely shaped the world,” said Senior Airman Brian Holloway, 86th MSS laboratory technician.

Because of the continued support of the 86th MSS, the 37th AS was able to continue this honorable tradition and remember the people who fought with courage, sacrificing their lives to put an end to tyranny.

“If we don’t constantly do these things and remember the sacrifices that were made, and how we have grown on the shoulders of those giants, then we’re going to forget them and they should not be forgotten,” said Frizzell. “It was one of the greatest generations in our history, especially the United States, so we need to honor that every year, and never forget it.”

C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to Ramstein Air Base fly over France in remembrance of D-Day June 6, 2021. D-Day is known to be the largest seaborne invasion in history.


Staff Sgt. Solomon White, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, left, and Maj. Brogan Otoole, 86th Operations Support Squadron chief of tactics, right, close the back of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft ramp at Ramstein Air Base, June 6, 2021. Six aircraft in total participated in a flyover commemorating the 77th anniversary of D-Day. The 37th AS is the legacy squadron of 37th Troop Carrier Squadron from the Royal Air Force Station in Cottesmore, England, which participated in the Allied invasion in 1944.