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MarketGarden memorial (Flight in a C-130J)

In September 1944, the Allied forces started an attack on the bridges in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, to capture the bridges of Son (near Eindhoven), Nijmegen and Arnhem; the attack was named 'Operation MarketGarden'. With these bridges in Allied hands, a dash into the industrial heart of Germany (the 'Ruhrgebiet') and Berlin might have end the 2nd World War before Christmas 1944. American ground forces and paratroopers were able to capture the bridges of Son and Nijmegen. But the British paratroopers faced very heavy and unexpected opposition from German Forces around Arnhem. After a fierce battle the Germans kept control of the Arnhem bridge, which was remembered by the 1970's movie 'A bridge too far'. Nearly all British and Polish paratroopers landed in 1944 at the 'Ginkelse Hei' (Ginkel Heath) between the cities of Ede and Arnhem. Every year a commemoration takes place whereby paratroopers are dropped from various military aircraft at the Ginkelse Hei.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News

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On the morning of Saturday September 17, 2011 the 67th commemoration took place for the Market-Garden operation near Arnhem (the Netherlands). That day, a fleet of transport aircraft flew various missions from the Eindhoven airbase in the Netherlands (ICAO: EHEH); dropping paratroopers from various countries. 4 Lockheed C-130J's from the 37th Airlift Squadron of the US Air Force Europe at Ramstein airbase in Germany (ICAO: ETAR), were temporary stationed at Eindhoven airbase. In 1944 the 37th AS (then named '37th Troop Carrier Squadron' was involved in the original MarketGarden operation, flying the legendary C-47 Dakota. Added by a German Air Force C-160, a Royal Air Force C-130 and a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight C-47; these aircraft flew 3 missions to drop over 800 paratroopers over the 1944 dropzone at the Ginkelse Hei. The paratroopers were from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Italy, United States of America and from Germany.
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The USAFE detachment of 4 C-130s was commanded by Captain Walton of 37th Airlift Squadron, part of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB. Capt. Walton flew in 6 years more than 1500 hours in the C-130 and a year ago she was stationed at Ramstein AB. Paradroppings are exercised on a monthly basis by the C-130J's of the 37th AS, but this MarketGarden commemoration was a very special event for the crews of the 4 aircraft. For Capt. Walton, the highlight of this commemoration was the huge amount of spectators on the ground near the 1944 landingzone at the Ginkelse Hei. She was very pleased to see so many spectators that day.
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Special thanks to PAO Ramstein, PAO Eindhoven, 37th AS crews and Senior Airman Holt.
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