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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
28 years ago today, I was a young Buck Sergeant with the 4/325 Airborne Combat Team out of Vicenza, Italy - we were training in Northern England at the time, not far from New Castle, not too far south of Hadrian's Wall.

On 5 June my PLT LDR came down and told me to grab my gear and head to the helipad ... I was going somewhere.

We met with some other troops from Belgium, England, France, at this little airbase not far from where I had been training with some of the SAS guys from the UK. From there I coptered to another air strip where I linked-up with some other members of my unit (COHORT) and was told that, the next day, I was going to Jumpmaster a stick of our paratroopers in for a jump into Sainte-Mère-Église ... a drop zone all Paratroopers were familiar with from WW II history.

So I did, we mass tac'd and next thing you know we were being shuttled a little ways before marching in formation over to the 40th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. I stood at the end of my squad, there on the parade grounds at Point-du-Hoc, as world leader after world leader walked between us on the way to the big stage. I was literally less than 100 feet in front of President Reagan when he made the following speech ...


It is a memory I shall never forget. Seems like yesterday ... almost surreal at times.

Oh, and we had a ball there after they cut us loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Got a PM asking about the dignitaries who were there - so here are the ones I remember:

Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterrand, Pierre Trudeau, Margaret Thatcher, Queen Beatrix, Prince Philip, King Olav, Queen Elizabeth, Grand Duke Jean, King Baudouin, Maurice Renauld ... and then there was the special one, the one that pinned my ARCOM on me when I was NCO of the Year in 1982 ... James "Jumpin' Jim" Gavin. Perhaps the greatest paratrooper and greatest Commander of the 82nd of all time.
 
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