ATTENTION FCTP MEMBER’S
June 6th, 2014 will mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day or the Battle of Normandy. A major turning point in World War II.
Mr. Herb Griffin and his brother Mr. Ed Griffin, WWII Veteran brothers will leave from the Jacksonville International Airport on Saturday, May 31st and return to Normandy.
One can only imagine the emotion that these two Veterans’ will experience as they view the beaches and experience the memories of so many years ago.
If you can be part of their sendoff please be inside the airport between 10-10:15 am as they will be arriving at 10:30am. We encourage everyone to wear your Red, White and Blue, bring a flag and/or a sign wishing them a safe trip and offering a HUGE thank you!!!
This wonderful opportunity for these two veterans was organized by the St. Johns County Professional Firefighters.
If you have snacks that you have not turned in to FCTP office or would like to donate to the USO please bring items to the USO at the airport.
Hope to see you there as we honor and send these to men off on what will no doubt be the trip of a lifetime.
Please feel free to share this information with family and friends
DID YOU KNOW?
National D-Day Memorial
The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia – the community suffering the highest per capita D-Day losses in the nation. The National D-Day Memorial honors the Allied forces that participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944 during World War II. With its stylized English Garden, haunting invasion tableau, and striking Victory Plaza, the Memorial stands as a powerful tribute to the VALOR, FIDELITY, and SACRIFICE of D-Day participants.
A Short History Lesson
As the Allies required a full moon and a spring tide, possible dates for the invasion were limited. Eisenhower first planned to move forward on June 5, but was forced to delay due to poor weather and high seas. Faced with the possibility of recalling the invasion force to port, he received a favorable weather report for June 6 from Group Captain James M. Stagg. After some debate, orders were issued to launch the invasion on June 6. Due to the poor conditions, the Germans believed that no invasion would occur in early June
The Night of Nights:
Departing from airbases around southern Britain, the Allied airborne forces began arriving over Normandy. Landing, the British 6th Airborne successfully secured the Orne River crossings and accomplished it objectives. The 13,000 men of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne’s were less fortunate as their drops were scattered which dispersed units and placed many far from their targets. Operating in small groups, they were able to achieve many of their objectives as the divisions pulled themselves back together. Though this dispersal weakened their effectiveness, it caused great confusion among the German defenders.
D-Day - The Longest Day:
The assault on the beaches began shortly after midnight with Allied bombers pounding German positions across Normandy. This was followed by a heavy naval bombardment. In the early morning hours, waves of troops began hitting the beaches. To the east, the British and Canadians came ashore on Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches. After overcoming initial resistance, they were able to move inland, though only the Canadians were able to reach their D-Day objectives. Though Montgomery had ambitiously hoped to take the city of Caen on D-Day, it would not fall to British forces for several weeks.
On the American beaches to the west, the situation was very different. At Omaha Beach, US troops quickly became pinned down by heavy fire from the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division as the pre-invasion bombing had fallen inland and failed to destroy the German fortifications. After suffering 2,400 casualties, the most of any beach on D-Day, small groups of US soldiers were able to break through the defenses opening the way for successive waves. On Utah Beach, US troops suffered only 197 casualties, the lightest of any beach, when they were accidentally landed in the wrong spot. Quickly moving inland, they linked up with elements of the 101st Airborne and began moving towards their objectives.
D-Day - Aftermath
By nightfall on June 6, Allied forces had established themselves in Normandy though their position remained precarious. Casualties on D-Day numbered around 10,400 while the Germans incurred approximately 4,000-9,000. Over the next several days, Allied troops continued to press inland, while the Germans moved to contain the beachhead. These efforts were frustrated by Berlin's reluctance to release reserve panzer divisions in France for fear that Allies would still attack at Pas de Calais.
Continuing on, Allied forces pressed north to take the port of Cherbourg and south towards the city of Caen. As American troops fought their way north, they were hampered by the bocage (hedgerows) that crisscrossed the landscape. Ideal for defensive warfare, the bocage greatly slowed the American advance. Around Caen, British forces were engaged in a battle of attrition with the Germans. The situation did not change radically until the US First Army broke through the German lines at St. Lo on July 25 as part of Operation Cobra.