Inaugural International Experience, July 1999
1999 Summer Study Trip Photos
Our group in front of a jeep at the George C. Marshall Foundation, Lexington, Virginia.
Roy Stevens, Bedford, Virginia resident and 29th Division veteran who related his D-Day experiences. Mr. Stevens was a member of Bedford’s own Company “A”, 116th Regiment which landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach. Company “A” suffered severe casualties on D-Day and Mr. Steven’s brother, Ray, was killed during the landing.
Walter Carter and Marsha Smith, Director of Normandy Allies. Mr. Carter’s father, Dr. Elmer Carter, was the surgeon for the 1st Battalion, 115th Regiment of the 29th Division. Dr. Carter was killed by a German sniper while administering aid to a wounded soldier in Normandy. Walter spoke to the group about his father, and his touching story allowed us to better understand the courage displayed by the soldiers in Normandy.
Entrance to the George C. Marshall Foundation on the campus of Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia. The group visited the Foundation’s museum and learned about General Marshall’s contributions to America and the world. Thomas Camden, Director, along with the staff, spoke to us at length about General Marshall.
Our group near the entry hall of the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Flags of U.S. Army divisions which helped liberate Nazi concentration camps are on display. Members are unfurling the 29th Division flag.
Group members on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Students had the chance to tour the city and visit some important museums and monuments.
29th Division veterans Claten Branham, Russell Pickett and E.J. Hamill stand by the 29th Division Memorial at Vierville-sur-Mer, France (behind Omaha Beach). We were honored to have these gentlemen with us on our journey and the stories they shared allowed us to better understand what soldiers in Normandy had to endure.
Students pose in front of the 29th Division Memorial. From left to right, David Brodkey, Alex Sherr, Shane Branham, Adam Izell, Greg Gorman, Tim Van Houten, Amelia Balaji and Amanda Zeiders.
Normandy Coordinator Gene Johnston (Lt. Col. Retired, U.S. Army) and Marsha Smith at one of the many receptions held for us by the wonderful people of Normandy. Gene was invaluable as guide and interpreter while we were in Normandy. Thanks, Gene!
Getting a ride on a vintage British weapons carrier courtesy of the Vierville Omaha Beach Museum.
Major Pete Combee of the 29th Division (Light) and the 29th Division veterans lead discussion about the landings on Omaha Beach. This photo was taken at the foot of the National Guard Monument, built on top of a German bunker at the Vierville Draw, Dog Green Sector.
Residents of the Vierville area share their remembrances of the D-Day landings. This meeting was put together by French members of the Omaha Beach/ Bedford, Virginia Twinning Association, and was held at the Vierville Community Center.
Our group enjoyed a journey to Point du Hoc on the Colonel Rudder sightseeing boat, which is based in Grandcamp-Maisy. This photo was taken near the spot where elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion stormed the cliffs and fought for control of this strategic position. The namesake of the boat is Colonel James Rudder, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Ranger Battalion on D-Day.
Phil Rivers, Superintendent of Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, leads our group on a walking tour of this immaculate shrine to the fallen. Mr. Rivers discussed the history of the cemetery and also expounded on some very interesting details of the Normandy campaign. Everyone came away with a deep and lasting impression of the sacrifice made by those 55 years ago.
Grave of Major Thomas Howie, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Regiment, 29th Division. Major Howie was killed on July 17, 1944, one day prior to the fall of St. Lo. He was an immensely popular leader with his men and his death symbolized the struggle and sacrifice made by the 29th Division. Major Howie’s body was carried into St. Lo and lay in state on the rubble of the St. Croix Church. His story was publicized by the media, and he became forever known as the “Major of St. Lo.”
The monument to Major Howie in St. Lo on the 55th anniversary of the town’s liberation, July 18, 1999. We were honored to be in attendance and recognized on this special occasion.
E.J. Hamill, Claten Branham, Russell Pickett and St. Lo resident Jean Mignon, a long-time 29th Division Association member. Mr. Mignon shared his remembrances of the liberation with us. French 29th Division re-enactors compose the honor guard behind the gentlemen.
Students dedicate a tree to peace at the German Military Cemetery at LaCambe, France.
Making our last visit to Omaha Beach. The National Guard Monument is visible in the left background. Thanks to everyone who helped make this project possible! It was a wonderful experience for us all!