Crew from 139th Airlift Wing Returns Home After D-Day Celebration

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 06/11 2014 04:41PM

Updated 06/12 2014 09:52AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) High above Normandy, France, the same spot where 70 years earlier allied forces invaded the beaches below, an aircrew from the 139th Airlift Wing assisted in D-Day ceremonies.

"I was awe struck," said Master Sergeant Brian Gregory.

"You read it about it in history books but being over there and seeing the towns and talking to the locals it kind of brings everything home about how much devastation there was during the war," said Major Tom Kampmeyer, the Aircraft Commander for the crew.

On Wednesday morning, the crew landed back home at Rosecrans.

The crew assisted in transporting Army sergeants who dropped out of planes during the ceremony. They also flew in formation over French towns that were affected by the war.

"They went through a lot of devastation and the towns still show it to this day so just to be there and see that was a humbling experience," Kampmeyer said.

For Gregory, the ceremonies held a special connection.

"I had an uncle that come ashore on Utah beach," he said. "Just to stand there where he came ashore 70 years ago, it gave me goosebumps. It chokes you up a little bit. It was special."

Gregory and the others walked the beaches where the invasion happened and spoke with veterans that were there in 1944.

"The veterans that were over there in 1944 and fought, they were getting a lot of attention and deservedly so from the French people," said Kampmeyer.

The crew says the entire experience was something they will never forget and to be a part of the reenactment made it that much more special.

"To see what they had to go through at the beaches when they come ashore," said Gregory. "Pictures, books, movies don't even hold a candle to it. It was pretty humbling."

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