Sixty-eight years ago, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany and gain a foothold on continental Europe.
U.S. Army Maj. Terrrence Sommers spent Wednesday on one of the battlegrounds of D-Day.
“It’s (an) incredible experience and humbling to see,” he said by phone from France.
Sommers, who lives in Augusta and is assigned to the Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) in Fort Bragg, N.C., is among more than 300 U.S. troops in the Normandy region to commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day operation. Soldiers participated in a week of ceremonies and an airborne operation at St. Mere Eglise, where airborne troops dropped in the pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1944.
Sommers said he also was able to train and jump with British airborne troops before the Normandy commemoration.
A veteran of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Sommers said that he has some understanding of the hardships of combat but that it pales in comparison to what the troops faced on Omaha Beach.
“We were able to meet some of the veterans who fought here,” he said. “It still hard for me to believe the odds they were up against and that they were able to make it through.”