80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

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Day 7 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: Best Defense Foundation Pays Tribute to Pegasus Bridge and Pointe-du-Hoc

Hours before American soldiers stormed Omaha Beach, Rangers hit the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc. They knocked out the enemy forces despite heavy machine gun fire and grenades raining down as they scaled the cliffs. They secured the cliff top, a critical win for the boys hitting the beachheads. 79 years later, the Best Defense Foundation attended a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the Rangers' success. 43 WWII veterans attended as US Air Force AC-130s flew overhead.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 11th, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

Day 6 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: 43 WWII Veterans Visit La Fiere and Utah Beach, Some Reconcile with Old Traumas

Tears dripped down from eyes that saw the carnage of war. The waves crash just beyond the sand dunes. For 6 of 43 WWII veterans, they are standing on Utah Beach, a place they remember. Many others were emotional, thinking of the family and friends they lost on this beach. Tec5 Robert P. ‘’Bob’’ Gibson landed on Utah Beach in the second wave on D-day. He was assigned to Battery A, 116th AAA Battalion, 1st Army. Seeing Utah Beach brings back vivid memories as it did for several other WWII veterans who attended the ceremony with Gibson.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 9th, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

Day 5 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: Glider Infantryman Reunites with Carentan, WWII Army Corps Nurse Turns 102

The people of Cerentan, France, and several soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division welcomed the Best Defense Foundation and 43 WWII veterans for a parade through the very streets the Allied forces liberated almost eight decades ago. Staff Sgt. George Mullins was one of the soldiers that broke the Nazis’ grip on Carentan. The Best Defense Foundation’s mission is to take care of the ones who took care of us. As part of that mission, Mullins had a chance to obtain closure by visiting the old battleground he fought tooth and nail through the streets at 18 years of age.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 7th, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

How One WWII Veteran Earned His Nickname

Nicknames were prevalent amongst the American GIs in WWII, but that tradition continues into today’s armed forces. One WWII veteran had his nickname well before the war, though. When I first met Robert “Boots” Chouinard on the first day of the 79th Anniversary of D-Day Battlefield Return Program to Normandy, he leaned in close and said, “Do you want to hear how I earned my nickname?”

Day 4 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: Best Defense Foundation Visits German and American Cemeteries, WWII Veteran Receives Legion of Honor

During the invasion of Normandy, 29,000 American soldiers were killed and 106,000 wounded or missing. D-day remains one of the bloodiest battles in America’s history. Almost 79 years later, 43 WWII veterans visited the Normandy American Cemetery on Friday. White crosses and Star of David headstones stretch as far as the eye can see. The somber beauty of the cemetery brought tears to almost everyone in the Best Defense Foundation’s group visiting the cemetery that day.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 4th, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

Day 3 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: 43 WWII Veterans land in Normandy, Visit Site of Abbey Massacre

When 43 WWII veterans land in Normandy on a historic flight, the whole local population comes out to welcome them — but it wasn’t just the Normans waiting. The Best Defense Foundation team was received on the Deauville Airport tarmac with open arms on Thursday. Several groups, including local elementary schools, regional and local officials, American military personnel, the press, WWII reenactor groups, and the general public, applauded as each veteran walked down the airplane staircase.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 3rd, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

Day 2 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: 43 WWII Veterans Enroute to France via Historic Charter Flight

When America and her Allies liberated concentration camps throughout Europe from 1944 to 1945, it created waves that continued to ripple throughout history. Those saved went on to have families, many appreciative of the sacrifices the soldiers, sailors, and airmen made to liberate their families. What many of our WWII soldiers may not have known at the time is how grateful the children of Holocaust survivors would be.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:41+00:00June 2nd, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments

Day 1 – 2023 Normandy Battlefield Return: WWII Veterans Prepare for Return Voyage to Normandy 8 Decades Later

Almost 79 years ago, American military members and their allies were preparing for D-Day, the start of the fight to liberate Normandy, France, from her Nazi occupiers. Today, the Best Defense Foundation is kicking off the 79th Anniversary of D-Day Battlefield Return Program to Normandy with the sole mission of “taking care of those who took care of us.” 43 WWII veterans, many of whom fought throughout France, are making the great pilgrimage back to the land they liberated almost eight decades ago.

By |2024-04-29T21:46:42+00:00May 31st, 2023|Battlefield Return Program, Missions, Normandy 2023|0 Comments