HomeMultimediaNewsArticle Display

86th AW commander celebrates centennial Memorial Day, honors fallen Americans

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Del Villano, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Jazz Band trumpeter, play taps on a bugle during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. The ceremony at Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery recognized both the Americans and the French service members who perished in combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Del Villano, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Jazz Band trumpeter, play taps on a bugle during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. The ceremony at Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery recognized both the Americans and the French service members who perished in combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to attendees of a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. August spoke of the history of Memorial Day and importance of remembering those who perished. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to attendees of a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. August spoke of the history of Memorial Day and importance of remembering those who perished. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, lays a wreath on a stand during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. In addition to the more than 4,000 Americans who died and are buried there, the cemetery holds the names of 284 service members who are missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, lays a wreath on a stand during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. In addition to the more than 4,000 Americans who died and are buried there, the cemetery holds the names of 284 service members who are missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

A 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules conduct a flyover during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology, which reduces manpower requirements, lowers operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

A 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules conduct a flyover during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology, which reduces manpower requirements, lowers operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Gregory Dubow, 86th Airlift Wing chaplain, prays an invocation before a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 4,000 Americans who died in combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Gregory Dubow, 86th Airlift Wing chaplain, prays an invocation before a Memorial Day ceremony at the Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019. Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 4,000 Americans who died in combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bass)

THIAUCOURT-REGNIÉVILLE -- France --

In celebration of the 100th Memorial Day, Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, attended a remembrance ceremony at Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt-Regniéville, France, May 26, 2019.

Saint-Mihiel American cemetery is the final resting place for more than 4,000 Americans, including one Medal of Honor recipient and 117 unknown Americans; as well as a wall featuring 284 who are missing in action. As part of the ceremony, the 37th Airlift Squadron conducted a C-130J Super Hercules flyover.

“We gather this Memorial Day weekend at this peaceful site amongst these Linden trees and we remember the commitment of our blood and treasure,” said August.

To recognize and commemorate those who fell in the line of duty, August reminded the crowd who these Americans were.

“These are members of our family, our brothers in arms, and these stories and memories remain with us today,” he said.

Those fallen Americans were assigned to the newly formed First Army, commanded by General of the Armies John J. Pershing, who led more than 500,000 Americans and 110,000 allied forces in a massive campaign to seize ground which was held by the German army for more than three years during World War I.

“(Pershing) forged a combined arms team of infantry, artillery, airpower, and tanks,” August said. “This plan had tanks supporting the advancing infantry, with two tank companies interspersed into a depth of at least three lines. The result was an almost unopposed assault, reaching its first day’s objective before noon, and the second day’s objective by late afternoon.

The attack went so well that Pershing ordered a speedup in the offensive. By the morning of 13 Sept., the 1st Division, The Big Red One advancing from the East, joined up with the 26th Division, the Yankee Division moving in from the West, and before evening, all objectives had been captured,” he continued.

“The sacrifice of those resting here in eternal peace was not about fame, not about fortune, not about force,” August said. “Instead, these heroes gave their lives to end a horrific war, to preserve democratic values, and to fight for each other.”

After concluding his remarks, August laid a memorial wreath and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Del Villano, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Jazz Band trumpeter, played taps.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.