US Soldiers Prep in Normandy for 65th D-Day Anniversary
NORMANDY, France, June 2, 2009 -- When the time comes Saturday, to honor the servicemen who fought and died supporting the D-Day invasion of Normandy 65 years ago, thousands are expected to flock to the shores of Utah Beach and Omaha Beach to pay homage to the bravery and sacrifice of these heroes.
The 18th Military Police Brigade, based in Germany, was designated to plan, coordinate and conduct all U.S. support to the Normandy ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
For the execution of Task Force Normandy 65, weeks of careful planning and coordination have gone into making sure that the veterans of D-Day know that their acts of heroism will never be forgotten.
More than 700 Soldiers will be participating in the ceremonies beginning June 3 and maintaining such a large number of Soldiers and coordinating with other military branches and foreign officials requires a high level of dedication and attention to detail.
Master Sgt. Michael Weatherholt, the operations sergeant major for the 18th MP Brigade, praised the work done by the brigade's Soldiers.
"The Soldiers of the brigade from junior to senior levels have all done a spectacular job from initial planning to where we are today with the execution of ceremonies. This being a highly visible mission, everyone knows their part and is conducting their duties superbly," he said.
Town mayors, cemetery directors, and the French Gendarmerie have all supported the brigade in its planning of the ceremonies.
"With all the coordination that has been conducted by the Task Force personnel for all ceremonies, this year's memorial anniversary is going to be extraordinary," said Weatherholt.
The opportunity to bring together U.S. Army Europe units with historic units like the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division to pay tribute to the veterans is an honor for the brigade, Weatherholt added.
Despite the logistical difficulties of planning and conducting such a large operation, the opportunity to pay their respects to the veterans has been a driving force for the brigade in making this "the most professional event to show our gratitude to our veterans for what they did many years ago," he said.
Of course, the 18th MP Bde. has had support and collaboration from many other units in making sure that everything falls into place.
"We couldn't have done it without the support of all the other units that were tasked to assist," said Command Sgt. Maj. Brenda Curfman, the command sergeant major of the 18th MP Bde.
(Report by Spc. Adrienne Killingsworth, 8th Military Police Brigade, Public Affairs Office.)
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