PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - At 1 a.m., June 6, 1944, the soldiers of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment took off to make their historic jump into Normandy. Their mission - to seize and control the high ground overlooking the beaches. Despite many obstacles, they reached their goal prior to the arrival of the forces that would take to the beach by sea.
Sixty-seven years later, on June 6, U.S. Army soldiers from Task Force Currahee, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, gathered at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan’s Paktika province to honor the Currahees who participated in the invasion of Normandy.
The ceremony started with words from the commander of 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., TF Currahee, U.S. Army Col. Sean M. Jenkins who also read the speech given by then U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines ... before they departed on the D-Day mission. Following his closing remarks, he focused specifically on his Currahee soldiers.
“Currahees, remember today, in a few minutes you will hear the names of 184 of our forefathers that went before us and on that very day, the invasion of fortress Europe, who lost their lives and gave their last full measure, for the freedom of our nation and the freedom of others,” said Jenkins. “As we look at our time here, two days shy of nine months since (transfer of authority), we memorialize the 17 Currahees that we have lost, who gave their last full measure for our nation and for the world, we will never forget them, their families, their sacrifice.
“Fighting for a people they do not know and knowing that the cause is right and that the cause is just, much like 67 years ago. For D-Day opened the path to Berlin and we, Currahees, as part of (Regional Command)-East and (Combined Joint Task Force)-1 will continue to build the path for a free, legitimate Afghanistan, knowing that the threat will not reach our shores again as it did in 9/11. As we say, the Currahees are no better friend to those we love and care about and we are no worse enemy to those we oppose. For us, no mission is too great; the difficult we do immediately, while the impossible takes just a little longer.”
Upon completion of the commander’s remarks, the Currahees read aloud the names of the 184 fallen Currahees who gave their lives June 6, 1944.
The ceremony concluded with a moment of silence to honor the “heroes” of D-Day.
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