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### Exciting Inaugural D-Day Study Abroad Program in France by VSU ROTC

A team from Valdosta State University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 172 is set to journey to Normandy, France, this summer to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Lt. Col. Lucas Brommer, the commander of VSU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 172, expressed that this venture presents a unique opportunity for cadets to engage in international study through the Aerospace Studies program.

Emphasizing the historical significance of military training in South Georgia during World War II, particularly in shaping pilots crucial to the success of the D-Day invasion, Brommer highlighted the exclusive position of their Air Force ROTC detachment in South Georgia. A visit to the World War II Flight Training Museum in Douglas, Georgia, offered cadets insight into the essential role played by nearly 10,000 aviation cadets trained there between 1941 and 1944.

D-Day, regarded by historians as the pivotal moment in World War II, witnessed the landing of American, British, and Canadian forces on the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The fierce German opposition led to significant casualties as the Allies pushed to liberate France. By August 1944, the Allies had ousted the Germans from the region, paving the way for their advance into Germany and eventual collaboration with Soviet troops.

In preparation for their journey to Normandy, Grant Lopez, the cadet wing commander, expressed anticipation for the enlightening experience and the valuable lessons it holds for future military leaders. Lopez, a prospective graduate in Computer Information Systems, aims to commission as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, specializing in intelligence.

Brommer underscored the transformative impact he expects this study abroad program to have on the cadets, fostering a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by American service members. Through visits to American military cemeteries in Normandy, the cadets will gain a profound understanding of their role as defenders of freedom.

The immersive learning opportunity in Normandy will provide cadets with insights into the complexities and sacrifices inherent in high-stakes conflicts. Brommer highlighted the importance of reflecting on the planning and execution of D-Day, both before and during their time in France, to extract valuable lessons applicable to their future leadership roles.

As the cadets embark on their maiden overseas journey, the program aims to instill in them a respect for diverse cultures and languages, fostering enduring bonds and memories that will shape their service in the Air Force or Space Force.

For those interested in supporting VSU’s Air Force ROTC cadets, information can be found at [ppp13].

Families of World War II veterans, particularly those with ties to Normandy, France, and historians versed in South Georgia’s wartime contributions, are encouraged to share their stories with Brommer. The cadets eagerly await these accounts as they prepare for their educational expedition abroad.