Ft. Polk paratroopers host Timmes Orchard memorial in France for D-Day 75
Fort Polk soldiers in 1st Battalion, 509th Airborne Infantry Regiment got to host one of the memorial events as part of the 75th commemoration of D-Day. The ceremony took place in Amfreville, France on June 7.
Seventy-five years ago Lieutenant Colonel Charles Timmes, commander of 2nd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division landed in a flooded field and nearly drowned. The officer rallied his soldiers who were scattered around their intended drop zone. Lt. Col. Timmes and his troops held their position for more than three days of combat with few resources and eventually helped liberate Amfreville.
"It's really an honor to be able to come here and pay homage to the sacrifice that their generation made," said Sergeant First Class Jerrod Choate with 1-509th. "They laid the groundwork for everything that we stand for today."
The area where the WWII commander landed is now called Timmes Orchard. The ceremony was a chance for the soldiers to learn more about their historical ties to the largest amphibious invasion in military history.
Captain Robert Doyle said his favorite part of attending D-Day 75 was "interacting with the veterans who were here that day and living vicariously through them in the stories that they've told. It's amazing to hear the struggles that they had to deal with."
The experience not only moved Sergeant First Class Ivan Krestyn as an Ary paratrooper, but it also brought the story of his Czech grandparents to life.
"My grandfather saw all this happen and my grandmother, you know, witnessed the atrocities, the tyranny and the oppression from Germany and the Nazi occupation throughout Europe. Being able to see those (historical sights) with my own eyes has been awesome, absolutely amazing."
The group of soldiers spent nearly two weeks in Normandy, France for D-Day 75.