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Ramstein Airmen arrive in Normandy for memorial exercises

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron takes off from Cherbourg Airfield, France, May 31, 2018. More than 60 Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, arrived in the Normandy region to conduct annual exercises commemorating the Battle of Normandy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Magbanua)

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron takes off from Cherbourg Airfield, France, May 31, 2018. More than 60 Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, arrived in the Normandy region to conduct annual exercises commemorating the Battle of Normandy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Magbanua)

CHERBOURG, France -- More than 60 Airmen assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing arrived in Cherbourg, France, May 30, to conduct annual commemorative exercises in the Normandy region.

The Airmen, hailing from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are scheduled to conduct aerial exercises, participate in memorial ceremonies, and conduct community engagement throughout the next few days. The team is also conducting joint flights with Airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

This year marks the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the operation in which U.S. and allied forces landed upon Normandy during World War II.

“It is an honor to be here in Normandy and re-enact the flights which liberated this region more than 70 years ago,” said Capt. Kyle Foley, 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules instructor pilot. Foley serves as the mission commander for the Ramstein Airmen.

The 37th AS has a significant history with Normandy: its ancestor unit, the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron, dropped paratroopers into the region on D-Day. Throughout the years since then, the squadron has committed to participating in the flights commemorating the fateful event.

“To fly the exact same paths which were flown during that battle, it’s just so humbling,” Foley said. “Words cannot describe how I feel when I see our guys take to the skies here.”

The D-Day invasion signaled the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, in which the Allies sought to infiltrate and liberate enemy-occupied territory in the region. The battle, which was code named Operation Overlord, marked the turning point of World War II in the continent.