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135 Green Berets parachute over France to commemorate 75th D-Day anniversary

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prepare to land on the drop zone near Mont Saint Michel, Avranches Commune, France, on May 18, 2019, during an airborne operation. This event comes at the invitation of the Mayor of Avranches in commemoration of World War II special operations that laid the success for the Allied liberation of France, and a celebration of the strong Alliance between France and the United States. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Avery Cunningham)
May 20, 2019

Green Berets from the Army’s 10th Special Force Group (Airborne) participated in a commemorative airdrop over France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

A total of 135 paratroopers dropped over Mont Saint Michel via free fall and static-line parachute from three U.S. Air Force aircraft from the 352d Special Operations Wing and the 86th Airlift Wing, according to the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe.

“We’re honored to participate in the jump and celebrate with the great people of France,” an unnamed 10th SFG (A) soldier told SOCEUR. “It’s important to remember the veterans both past and present and what they represent in service to their country.”

The jump commemorates the drop of the Jedburgh teams over France before the Normandy invasion. Saint Michel is known as the “patron saint of paratroopers.”

“Overall it was a great jump. It was smooth and went as planned,” the soldier said. “It’s an outstanding experience to be able to honor the paratroopers who jumped into France during World War II.”

After the drop, the soldiers conducted a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial for Gen. Patton in Avranches, who sponsored the event, and held a ceremonial toast with the town’s mayor, David Nicolas.

“We invited them because it’s a very good opportunity to have them jump at Avranches to start the World War II commemorations and celebrations leading up to the anniversary of the liberation of Avranches,” said Nicolas, Mayor of Avranches Commune. “It’s also good because today we are opening a new exhibition about World War II in Normandy at the history museum.”

“[The] 10th SFG(A) draws their lineage from the Jedburghs,” an unnamed 10th SFG(A) senior enlisted told SOCEUR. “We’re celebrating their combined effort to liberate Western Europe with local forces. The airborne operation celebrates the long relationship between America and France and 10th SFG’s commitment to continuing the tradition of training and working with our allies in Europe.”

The Jedburghs were three-man teams created from 300 forces comprised of British, American, and French forces, as well as a Belgian, Canadian, some Dutch troops, and a South African. The Jedburgh trios were key to liberating France and Europe.

The teams were involved in orchestrating resistance groups behind enemy lines. For three months, Jedburgh teams disrupted enemy communication and interfered with the Germans’ destruction of allied infrastructure, which played a significant role in diverting Germany’s military focus from battlefronts, according to the Special Operation Command’s Office of Strategic Services.

The U.S. Army Special Forces was formed in 1952 in connection to the Jedburgh teams and immediately deployed in support of U.S. forces during the Cold War.