Friday, June 10, 2016


19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

NORMANDY, France – In commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, airmen from the 48th Airlift Squadron and 62nd Airlift Squadron of the 314th Airlift Wing from Little Rock Air Force Base on Sunday transported more than 60 paratroopers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Vicenza, Italy, over the “Iron Mike” Monument and La Fiere Drop Zone in Normandy, France.

The airdrops of paratroopers symbolized the role the 314th Troop Carrier Group — the 314th AW’s predecessor — played during the Normandy invasion in June 1944.

This was the first time the 314th AW participated in the D-Day commemorative events.

During the invasion, the 314th Troop Carrier Group delivered paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division over Normandy, France.

This year, festivities were held in local communities surrounding St. Mere-Eglise, one of the first French towns liberated by the Allies during World War II.

These events, which began June 1 and continued up to the grand commemoration on Monday, highlighted the importance of remembering what happened 72 years ago.

Local residents and thousands of tourists came together to touch a piece of history and to see the legacy continued by today’s military.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Stewart, a C-130J loadmaster with the 314th Operations Group, said, “Seeing so many people come together and appreciate what we do makes me appreciate what I do even more. It also makes me realize the impact of our roles, not just on an Air Force level, but on a global level.”

The 48th AS will be deactivated in September, making their participation in this year’s commemorative events especially poignant.

“It’s a big year for the 314th AW,” said Air Force Maj. Bryan Lucas, a C-130J pilot with the 314th OG. “Participating in the anniversary is bittersweet. The 62nd AS is transitioning from the C-130H to the C-130J, while the 48th is standing down.

“It’s wonderful to see these two squadrons who flew over Normandy in 1944 can fly one more time here,” he added.