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Memorial Day weekend tribute to OSS commandos in south west France

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Memorial Day weekend tribute to OSS commandos in south west France
One of the two steles honoring the two OSS commandos killed in action in the Tarn in August 1944. Photo courtesy of Meredith Wheeler

A US Second World War military operation in southwest France is to be remembered the weekend before Memorial Day to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the CIA.

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During its short span, the OSS ran 13 important secret missions in France around D-Day, including one in the Tarn département that played a key role in the liberation of the country by preventing Nazi forces based there from reinforcing troops in Provence, under attack from invading Allied forces on the south coast.

Between May 27th and May 29th, a series of events will take place in Albi, Brassac, Boissezon, Le Vintrou and Lautrec to honour the bravery of OSS officers, who parachuted into the département to co-ordinate and lead resistance efforts in the area.

A new commemorative flag honouring the OSS’s role in France’s Liberation will be unveiled at the commemoration events.

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An exhibition parachute jump will take place on the morning of Friday May 27th, three days before Memorial Day proper, with both French and American special forces, at the drop zone where the 15-man OSS team dropped by moonlight in August 1944.

Among those participating in the commemorative 2022 parachute drop is Marine Corp Military Attaché from the US Embassy in Paris, Colonel Ed Norris, USMC.

On Saturday, May 28th, floral tributes will be laid at the steles at Le Rialet and Betges honouring US soldiers and the French Resistance fighters who died opposing the Nazi occupation.

Relatives of one of those men are travelling from San Diego to attend the special ceremony.

The following day, an exhibition of US and French World War Two military vehicles will go on display in Lautrec.

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