My final full day in Normandy for this trip. I'll begin the trip back to North Carolina in the morning and will quickly shift gears to head down to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, next week for JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge. We will bring about 20 of our Raider cadets for a week of awesome training and team building — getting to do all the fun things that you would get to do in a year in the Army all in a week. At the end of the following week, I will return to Normandy with a small group of cadets and take them around to learn and reinforce what I have just experienced. I hope they are ready for it!

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Spring had more than sprung in Richmond County when I departed less than a week ago. Winter gear could safely be put away until about November. Here in the north of France, the calendar may indicate spring, but it is shockingly different than the Carolinas — like 40 degrees cooler with fog and wind. It all blew in last evening. It sounded like a hurricane all night as the wind and rain beat against the house. Also beating against the front of the house and the black-out storm shutters was the old parachute that was decorating the place. 

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I woke to a quiet Normandy coast — very different than the morning of the 6th of June, 1944. The German defenders were expecting quiet in the area — they had been convinced that when the Allies finally committed to attacking, the attack would likely be elsewhere. The German commander, Erwin Rommel or the Desert Fox, was so comfortable and confident that he was out of the area — on a personal shopping trip to buy a birthday gift for his wife in Paris. BIG mistake. 

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