Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied troops stormed beaches at Normandy, France during World War II.
Part of that operation included the use of paratroopers that dropped behind Nazi lines. Those paratroopers trained at Camp Toccoa on Currahee Mountain.
One “Toccoa man” who is going back to France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day today is Al Mampre.
He was a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Easy Company. That is the unit made famous by the “Band of Brothers” book and mini-series.
Mampre said he goes back with a different perspective than some based on his experience on D-Day.
“I am going back because actually I did not jump in Normandy,” said Mampre. “My buddy was in that one, but he did not go into Holland, I did (jump into Holland). I was in the hospital when they took off (for D-Day). At the time, I felt really bad but in retrospect, I lucked out I think.”
Mampre was in Normandy two years ago.
He said one thing in particular that struck him when he visited then was the cemetery.
“I read names of people that were in my unit, some of my medics and that sort of thing, it just sort of hit me,” said Mampre. “The first day I was impressed with the cemetery, the beauty of it. The next day, it hit me.”