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Ky. Air Guard deploys to Europe to airdrop troops for 75th D-Day event

Senior Airman Brett Hook, a loadmaster for the 123rd Airlift Wing, closes the ramp on a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, in preparation for a deployment to France. Hook and 30 other Kentucky Air Guardsmen will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day there by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Senior Airman Brett Hook, a loadmaster for the 123rd Airlift Wing, closes the ramp on a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, in preparation for a deployment to France. Hook and 30 other Kentucky Air Guardsmen will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day there by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing board a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing board a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules takes off from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where it will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. The aircraft, which has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery, will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules takes off from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where it will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. The aircraft, which has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery, will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Master Sgt. Phil Speck, Public Affairs superintendent for the 123rd Airlift Wing, boards a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France. Speck and 30 other Kentucky Air Guardsmen will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day there. Two Kentucky C-130s will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

Master Sgt. Phil Speck, Public Affairs superintendent for the 123rd Airlift Wing, boards a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France. Speck and 30 other Kentucky Air Guardsmen will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day there. Two Kentucky C-130s will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The aircraft has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the event, which turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A C-130 Hercules from the 123rd Airlift Wing has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s and more than 30 Kentucky Air Guardsmen deployed from their base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in a D-Day reenactment by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A C-130 Hercules from the 123rd Airlift Wing has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s and more than 30 Kentucky Air Guardsmen deployed from their base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in a D-Day reenactment by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A C-130 Hercules from the 123rd Airlift Wing has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s and more than 30 Kentucky Air Guardsmen deployed from their base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in a D-Day reenactment by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A C-130 Hercules from the 123rd Airlift Wing has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Two Kentucky C-130s and more than 30 Kentucky Air Guardsmen deployed from their base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where they will participate in a D-Day reenactment by airdropping U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules taxies from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where it will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. The aircraft, which has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery, will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

A 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules taxies from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., June 1, 2019, en route to France, where it will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day. The aircraft, which has been striped with historically accurate Allied Forces livery, will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy on June 9 as part of the commemoration. The D-Day invasion, formally known as Operation Overlord, turned the tide of World War II in the European theater. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Dale Greer)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing here deployed more than 30 Airmen and two C-130 Hercules aircraft to Europe today, where they will participate in the 75th-anniversary reenactment of D-Day.

On June 9, the Kentucky Guardsmen will airdrop U.S. Army paratroopers over Normandy, France, in commemoration of one of the most significant days of the 20th Century. More than 150,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel by air and sea during the opening days of Operation Overlord in 1944, successfully invading German-occupied Western Europe and turning the tide of World War II in the European theater.

“The gargantuan scale of the D-Day invasion and the sacrifice that these guys made back then is hard to fathom,” said Lt. Col. Randall Hood, a C-130 pilot and commander of Kentucky’s 123rd Operations Support Squadron. “The fact that we will have an opportunity to honor the people who actually did this 75 years ago is very humbling.”

Dozens of organizations from across the U.S. military are participating in the observance, but Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing will be the only Air Guard unit to take part. In addition to providing airdrop capability, the wing will play a supporting role on the ground with Airmen from its 123rd Contingency Response Group.

A Kentucky aircraft participating in the reenactment has even been decorated with authentic makings so that it will appear in the same livery as Allied aircraft from 75 years ago.

“I’m very proud to be part of this momentous event,” said Master Sgt. Adam Keller, a Mission Planning Cell loadmaster with the group. “We’re very excited to be the only Air National Guard contingency response unit on the ground in France, and to honor those who fought and paid the ultimate price 75 years ago.”