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815th Airlift Squadron drops paratroopers to commemorate D-Day 73

Col. Brian May, commander of the 403rd Operation Group, gives a speech during a ceremony in Picauville, France. This ceremony commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

Col. Brian May, the 403rd Operations Group commander, gives a speech during a ceremony in Picauville, France. This ceremony commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

Senior Master Sgt. Darren Bannister, loadmaster with the 815th Airlift Squadron looks out of the bubble on the flight deck while taking part in a paratroop drop over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

Senior Master Sgt. Darren Bannister, an 815th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, looks out of the bubble on the flight deck while taking part in a paratroop drop over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

Paratroops jump from C-130J aircraft during a six-ship troop drop over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

Paratroopers jump from C-130J Super Hercules aircraft during a six-ship troop drop over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

A jumpmaster communicates with his troops awaiting their jump from an 815th Airlift Squadron C-130J over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

A jumpmaster communicates with his troops awaiting their jump from an 815th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules over Normandy, France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multi-national amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.' steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day events from May 31 to June 7, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)

SAINTE-MERE-EGLISE, France (AFNS) -- Two 815th Airlift Squadron crews from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, participated in a six-ship multinational airborne mission near here in the Normandy region June 4, 2017, to commemorate D-Day 73.

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Infantry Divisions dropped into France in the opening moments of what would become known as “The Longest Day.”

Now, 73 years later, C-130J Super Hercules crews from the 815th AS join the 37th AS from Ramstein Air Base, Germany as well as French and German C-160s to drop 451 U.S., French, British, Dutch and German paratroopers and reenactors. The aircraft followed the same route C-47s did to drop paratroopers on D-Day.

The 815th AS is one of nine historical units taking part in various events and ceremonies throughout the region. Now a C-130J tactical unit, the 815th AS was the 815th Bombardment Squadron during World War II.

“I’m honored and humbled to be able to fly in such a historic event that celebrates and commemorates all of the people that took part and those that made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Capt. Nicholas Foreman, an 815th AS pilot.

The squadron flew multiple missions during this year’s week-long D-Day 73 commemoration, to include several flyovers.

Overall, participation in D-Day 73 not only commemorates the D-Day heroes, it also demonstrates the steadfast commitment of the U.S. to European allies and partners, Foreman said.