The fourth day of the Raider Battalion Cadet’s trip to France saw the group travelling to Mont-Saint-Michel on the southwest side of the Cotentin Peninsula. This would be a day to explore more of the long history of France and the Normandy region while mixing in some Airborne culture as well.  

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If there is a bigger day than the 6th of June during this series of events, for paratroopers, it would be the day of the "big" jump. The day that every American paratrooper should experience at least once in their life. The day when Allied militaries, exhibition teams, and others who are able to fit onto the schedule and into the plan conduct a large combined, joint airborne operation onto the historic drop zone of the 82nd Airborne Division 75 years ago. It is the holy grail of jumps ... and I have been honored to participate in a few. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the original Operation Neptune jumps, the planners ensured that the jump would be on the weekend — which means that it is the 9th rather than the 6th. 

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The extremely high winds and scattered rains continued today. The jump planned at Graignes was scratched. I welcome the cancellation since I was going to miss the memorial ceremony at Hemevez. Now, I'm able to go.

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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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It is late in Normandy, but if I don't send this report now, it will be overcome by the big day's events. The fifth of June would have been D-Day, but the weather did not cooperate. Truth be told, the allies were well into the deployment when they had to shift 24 hours. The weather here in the region changes even more than it does in Richmond County. Not only that, but a few miles away from wherever you are, the weather is 180 degrees different. So it went today.

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County Schools and the Richmond Senior High JROTC Raider Battalion will be represented during the historic 75th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings. 

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MARSTON — Seven cadets of the Richmond Senior High School Army JROTC Raider Battalion and a few others conducted a small memorial ceremony and cleaned up around the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion's monument near Lake Kinney Cameron on Saturday — 75 years after eight members of the unit perished in the lake during a training jump.

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