Kentucky, Georgia Air Guardsmen participate in re-enactment of historic airborne assault

By Master Sgt. Charles Delano, 165th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Georgia Air National Guard

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U.S., British, Dutch and Polish troops parachute from a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 near Groesbeek, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014, as part of the 70th-anniversary re-enactment of Operation Market Garden. The historic World War II mission was, at the time, the largest airborne assault ever conducted. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles Delano)

EINDHOVEN, Holland – Four C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, and the 123rd Airlift Wing, Kentucky Air National Guard, air-dropped a mix of 360 U.S., British, Dutch and Polish paratroopers over fields near Groesbeek, Netherlands, Sept. 18 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, a record-setting Allied mission that deployed more than 30,000 airborne troops and additional ground forces in a massive attempt to crush Germany during World War II.

“It is our privilege to provide the airborne portion of this commemoration,” said Lt. Col. Chris Davis, mission commander for the 165th Airlift Wing, which is the lead C-130 unit. “It is our wish that every World War II veteran, past and present, be honored by this reenactment, and to thank the ‘Greatest Generation’ for their acts of valor.”

Among the jumpers were four Georgia Air National Guard joint terminal attack controllers from the 165th Air Support Operations Squadron and six Georgia Army National Guard soldiers from the 108th Cavalry Regiment, who jumped as part of a reenactment of the September 1944 airborne assault by 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers on Drop Zone Tango.

“It was a great experience to jump with the British, Dutch and Polish paratroopers on a drop zone that had not been jumped since the DZ was active in 1944,” said Maj. Roger Brooks, a joint terminal attack controller from the 165th. “After the jump, I was honored by the reception of the town mayor and local citizens. They were thankful for the liberation of the Netherlands by allied forces.”

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A Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 banks over Groesbeek, Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2014, after deploying U.S., British, Dutch and Polish paratroopers as part of the 70th-anniversary re-enactment of Operation Market Garden. The historic World War II mission was, at the time, the largest airborne assault ever conducted. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Charles Delano)

A larger re-enactment involving more than 1,000 troops is scheduled for Sept. 20.