D-Day reflection provides important lessons

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. John Wood
  • 3rd Air Force

The sixth of June marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. As we reflect on the significance of this event, three words come to mind: Patience, Perseverance, and Partnerships.

Years before D-Day, the Allies knew an invasion from the English Channel was needed to win the war. The problem was we didn’t have the resources or technology to do it at that time. Even after the U.S. landed in England, it was still going to take time to mobilize, train and gain the experience necessary to launch a successful invasion. It was going to take patience. In the weeks preceding D-Day the Army Air Forces destroyed bridges leading to Normandy, cutting Axis reinforcements. The Allies also gained air superiority over the battle space, protecting the skies above the beaches of Normandy for the invasion. Planning and preparation were both vital to the success of D-Day. It’s easy to want things to happen immediately to desire instant success, but quite often it takes time and patience to achieve the desired result.

If we would have judged the success of D-Day by the first few hours or even the first day, our story might be different. But even when the odds looked bleak, we persevered and the result was overwhelming. Perseverance allowed us to push through and look for new and creative ways to solve the invasion problem. This was a similar story to our bombing campaign. Primary targets were Axis transportation lines and facilities associated with manufacturing aircraft. Though the initial bombing did little to impact Axis aircraft production, over time our efforts proved devastating to the Axis’s ability to manufacture aircraft as fast as they were losing them in battle.

The U.S. could not have won WWII on our own, especially fighting on two fronts. However, we were not alone. We stood together with our Allies. They were with us on the beaches of Normandy and the skies above. Today alliances and partnerships are just as important as they were in WWII. Our NATO allies and other partners are crucial to our national security objectives and maintaining peace throughout our theater.

On D-Day the patience to plan, perseverance to adapt and forging partnerships that united us are lessons we cannot forget. The sixth of June is a day to reflect on those whom served and fought seventy five years ago… and a time to remember how and why D-Day is so important in our history.