Morning at Iron Mike

La Fière Bridge, Normandy, France

A quieter scene, 75 years later.

The bridge was critical. As the invasion of Normandy began, seizing and holding the bridge beside the hamlet of La Fière was one of three central objectives for the USAF 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. This route was essential for movement inland from Utah Beach and to prevent German reinforcements from moving west. It simply couldn’t be done without securing the bridge and the surrounding territory.

An enormous amount of history has been written about what happened here between June 6 and 9, 1944. Those extraordinary actions, deemed “the bloodiest small arms battle” in US Army history, are why there is a memorial and yearly commemorations at this site. This photo was taken last year, just after dawn, as preparations were underway for the 75th Anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.

Stay tuned for more from that extraordinary day, made possible by the US Air Force Combat Controller Team.