WWII Airborne Demonstration Team
76 YEARS AGO, TODAY—This is where American boots first set foot on Dutch soil at the start of Operation Market Garden, September 17, 1944, The Eerde Drop Zone, the Netherlands. This photo was taken last year by one of our jumpers on the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden.
76 years ago, this field and many like it across Holland, marked the stage for the largest airborne assault in history. In record time, the Allies delivered over 34,600 men, representing the American 82nd and 101st ABN, the 1st British ABN, and the 1st Independent Polish ABN Brigade.
20,011 of those troops were delivered by parachute. The balance, by glider—along with 1,736 vehicles and 263 pieces of artillery.
The casualty rate was high. Operation Market Garden lasted for nine days. Allied losses including ground forces amounted to over 17,000 killed, wounded or missing. This was the cost of liberation.
What this photo shows is liberation’s legacy, 76 years of peace! 76 years of freedom—freedom from a tyranny so dark that the people of Holland today still celebrate September 17 as a day of deliverance. There are monuments to that deliverance across Holland. This simple undisturbed field is one of them. For the Americans, this field is where deliverance began.
Members of our team landed in this area last year along with WWII Veterans Jim "Pee Wee" Martin (G/506) and Vincent J. Speranza and our hosts, the Round Canopy Parachuting Team Netherlands to whom we still thank for some great memories. Join us tomorrow when we share an untold story about that jump, one that you’ll appreciate if you’re looking for some inspiration to end your week.
Photo by our team member, Jumper, and U.S. Army Veteran, Jacob Stottlemyer