HomeNewsArticle Display

435th CTS restores WWII memorial in France

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th Construction Training Squadron structural contingency instructor, drills holes into a metal frame at the 435th CTS compound near Ramstein Air Base, Germany, April 26, 2019. The frame replaced a display case holding a WWII aircraft engine at a memorial in Picauville, France. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th Construction Training Squadron structural contingency instructor, drills holes into a metal frame at the 435th CTS compound near Ramstein Air Base, Germany, April 26, 2019. The frame replaced a display case holding a WWII aircraft engine at a memorial in Picauville, France. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

An engine from an aircraft flown over Normandy in WWII sits in a weathered display case in Picauville, France, May 30, 2019. The aircraft, which contained U.S. paratroopers, was downed near Picauville on D-Day and now honors all who were downed that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

An engine from an aircraft flown over Normandy in WWII sits in a weathered display case in Picauville, France, May 30, 2019. The aircraft, which contained U.S. paratroopers, was downed near Picauville on D-Day and now honors all who were downed that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, stand at parade rest during a ceremony at a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, May 1, 2019. The mayor of Picauville and the organization that oversees the memorial recognized and gave thanks to the Airmen who refurbished the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, stand at parade rest during a ceremony at a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, May 1, 2019. The mayor of Picauville and the organization that oversees the memorial recognized and gave thanks to the Airmen who refurbished the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, stand at parade rest next to a newly refurbished WWII aircraft engine display in Picauville, France, May 1, 2019. The Airmen worked together to refurbish the display case and the surrounding memorial in preparation for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, stand at parade rest next to a newly refurbished WWII aircraft engine display in Picauville, France, May 1, 2019. The Airmen worked together to refurbish the display case and the surrounding memorial in preparation for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven J. Jantz, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, accepts a medallion from Philippe Catherine, Mayor of Picauville, France, on behalf of the 435th AGOW at a WWII memorial in Picauville, May 1, 2019. Catherine presented the medallion as a way to say thank you to Jantz’ team for refurbishing the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven J. Jantz, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, accepts a medallion from Philippe Catherine, Mayor of Picauville, France, on behalf of the 435th AGOW at a WWII memorial in Picauville, May 1, 2019. Catherine presented the medallion as a way to say thank you to Jantz’ team for refurbishing the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

Philippe Catherine, Mayor of Picauville, France, speaks to U.S. Air Force Col. Steven J. Jantz, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, as Capt. Claude Betene A Dooko, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor flight commander, center, interprets for Catherine during a ceremony at a WWII memorial in Picauville, May 1, 2019. The mayor thanked Jantz’ team for coming out to Picauville to refurbish the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

Philippe Catherine, Mayor of Picauville, France, speaks to U.S. Air Force Col. Steven J. Jantz, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, as Capt. Claude Betene A Dooko, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor flight commander, center, interprets for Catherine during a ceremony at a WWII memorial in Picauville, May 1, 2019. The mayor thanked Jantz’ team for coming out to Picauville to refurbish the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron and 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron lift a new display case over a WWII aircraft engine at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The 435th CTS team built the new case from scratch, transported it from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and mounted it to the pedestal of the display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron and 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron lift a new display case over a WWII aircraft engine at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The 435th CTS team built the new case from scratch, transported it from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and mounted it to the pedestal of the display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, refurbishes a WWII memorial with new paint in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The memorial is used for ceremonial events hosted every year for the anniversary of D-Day. Donahue and her team ensured it would be presentable this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, refurbishes a WWII memorial with new paint in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The memorial is used for ceremonial events hosted every year for the anniversary of D-Day. Donahue and her team ensured it would be presentable this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron refurbish a WWII aircraft engine display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Years of weathering rendered the display unpresentable. The 435th CTS team replaced the translucent case around the display with a new one, allowing people to see the aircraft engine inside. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron refurbish a WWII aircraft engine display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Years of weathering rendered the display unpresentable. The 435th CTS team replaced the translucent case around the display with a new one, allowing people to see the aircraft engine inside. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th Construction Training Squadron structural contingency instructor, brushes a metal frame at a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The frame was used to anchor a display case holding an aircraft engine that was shot down on D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 18

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th Construction Training Squadron structural contingency instructor, brushes a metal frame at a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The frame was used to anchor a display case holding an aircraft engine that was shot down on D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, center; Denis Dennebouy, Picauville Se Souvient president, left; and Dr. Jeffrey McGovern, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing historian, pick weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The memorial is one of many across the Normandy region honoring WWII service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice to liberate France. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 18

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, center; Denis Dennebouy, Picauville Se Souvient president, left; and Dr. Jeffrey McGovern, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing historian, pick weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The memorial is one of many across the Normandy region honoring WWII service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice to liberate France. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron lower a metal frame onto the pedestal of a WWII aircraft display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The frame was used to anchor the new display case so the engine could be protected from weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 18

Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron lower a metal frame onto the pedestal of a WWII aircraft display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The frame was used to anchor the new display case so the engine could be protected from weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, disassembles a display case, housing a WWII aircraft engine, at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The 435th CTS Airmen spent several hours building a new case, removing the old one, and re-painting parts of the display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 18

A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron, disassembles a display case, housing a WWII aircraft engine, at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The 435th CTS Airmen spent several hours building a new case, removing the old one, and re-painting parts of the display. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rachel Miller, 435th Construction Training Squadron power production journeyman, loosens a screw attached to the pedestal of a WWII aircraft display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The “100819” painted on the pedestal represents the aircraft number the engine belonged to. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 18

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rachel Miller, 435th Construction Training Squadron power production journeyman, loosens a screw attached to the pedestal of a WWII aircraft display at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. The “100819” painted on the pedestal represents the aircraft number the engine belonged to. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

Dr. Jeffrey McGovern, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing historian, pulls weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. After the project to refurbish the memorial was complete, McGovern gave a tour of the crash sites of U.S. aircraft that went down during D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 15 of 18

Dr. Jeffrey McGovern, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing historian, pulls weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. After the project to refurbish the memorial was complete, McGovern gave a tour of the crash sites of U.S. aircraft that went down during D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rachel Miller, 435th Construction Training Squadron power production journeyman, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th CTS structural contingency instructor, disassemble a display case, housing a WWII aircraft engine, at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Before arriving to Picauville, the 435th CTS team prepared a new display case to replace the damaged one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 16 of 18

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Rachel Miller, 435th Construction Training Squadron power production journeyman, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Evans, 435th CTS structural contingency instructor, disassemble a display case, housing a WWII aircraft engine, at a memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Before arriving to Picauville, the 435th CTS team prepared a new display case to replace the damaged one. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, pulls weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Donahue and her fellow Airmen cleaned the grounds, refurbished a display case, and re-painted weathered parts of the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 17 of 18

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Meghan Donahue, 435th Construction Training Squadron first sergeant, pulls weeds out of a WWII memorial in Picauville, France, April 30, 2019. Donahue and her fellow Airmen cleaned the grounds, refurbished a display case, and re-painted weathered parts of the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Claude Betene A Dooko, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor flight commander, picks up concrete slabs scraped off a weathered pedestal as part of a WWII memorial beautification project in Picauville, France, May 30th, 2019. Betene was the interpreter for the 435th Construction Training Squadron, providing translations between them and the French. He also helped the Airmen leading the project clean the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 18 of 18

U.S. Air Force Capt. Claude Betene A Dooko, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor flight commander, picks up concrete slabs scraped off a weathered pedestal as part of a WWII memorial beautification project in Picauville, France, May 30th, 2019. Betene was the interpreter for the 435th Construction Training Squadron, providing translations between them and the French. He also helped the Airmen leading the project clean the memorial. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

PICAUVILLE, France --

Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction Training Squadron applied their skills to restore a WWII memorial, April 30.

The memorial is home to an engine that belonged to an aircraft shot down by enemy forces during D-Day. After years of weathering, the case surrounding the engine lost its clarity and made it very difficult to see the monument.

Before arriving to Picauville, the 435th CTS team built a new display case at their compound near Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and transported it in a trailer, 480 miles to the memorial.

“It was a real honor to be able to come out here,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Oare, 435th CTS structural craftsman. “When we showed up, we removed the old case and scraped off some of the old paint chipping off underneath the galvanized steel. Then we taped and re-painted everything.”

Oare and his teammates worked hour after hour refurbishing the memorial. When it was time to install the new display case, the entire team carefully lifted it over the engine as to not damage the historical artifact or the case itself. Once the case was in place, the Airmen fixed it to the pedestal and sealed the cracks to prevent moisture from seeping in.

“It’s such a big improvement,” said Airman 1st Class Rachel Miller, 435th CTS aircraft arresting systems apprentice. “The old [case] had been sitting out for a while.”

Miller said it was rewarding to work on a project tied to WWII, and being in the small town of Picauville while learning about its history felt authentic.

Following the 11 hour work day, Col. Steven J. Jantz, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 435th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander; Philippe Catherine, Picauville mayor; members of Picauville Se Souvient, the organization that oversees the memorial; and members of the community gathered for a ceremony to give thanks to the Airmen who refurbished the memorial.

“I was very moved by the renovation work done by the Air Force team from Ramstein,” said Denis Dennebouy, Picauville Se Souvient president through an interpreter. “At the beginning of the process, I just didn’t believe it would happen. For us, it was like a miracle to see an American team coming here, not for an official event, but to work on the monument; to accomplish extensive work for our organization because we are just a small group. It’s something we will never forget.”

After the ceremony, Dr. Jeffrey McGovern, 435th AGOW historian, gave a tour of the aircraft crash sites associated with the memorial.

“We are one of the last troop carrier groups to come across the cotentin,” said McGovern recalling the story of the downed aircraft. “By the time the 435th comes across, we’re starting to receive anti-aircraft fire...on the left element as the group flies over, they take the most flak and we lose two airplanes with the paratroopers inside.”

One of the airplanes exploded in the sky losing all aircrew members and paratroopers. The other airplane caught fire and crashed into the ground losing all aircrew and 14 out of the 17 paratroopers inside.

“They crashed right around this town of Picauville,” he continued. “And so, the people of Picauville have taken it upon themselves for over two decades to commemorate the troop carrier folks.”

Before the Airmen headed back to Ramstein, the people of Picauville thanked them once more and extended a warm welcome back to their home.

“I have never seen a community so grateful to America in general, and U.S. military in particular, than the people we met in Picauville,” said Capt. Claude Betene A Dooko, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron air advisor flight commander, and interpreter. “Normandy is full of monuments and other symbols serving as a constant reminder of the locals’ gratefulness. As an American service member who has been in more than 10 different countries, I never felt more welcomed anywhere else than in Normandy.”

June 6th of this year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Picauville, among dozens of other locations in the Normandy region, will host ceremonies to commemorate those who fought to liberate France.