A Norwich Invasion

In mid-May of this year, a merry group of Norwich alumni and family members gathered at Charles De Gaulle Airport outside Paris to embark on a tour of Normandy’s D-Day beaches and points of interest. All who joined (save one) were Norwich alumni, spouses, or parents of same. Also on board were Nathan Huegen, our host from the National World War II Museum, and Jim Ehrman, CGCS program director for the MA in military history and MA in history. Alumni class years spanned six decades, from 1950 to 2010. Three classes (1960, 1967, and 1968) had two graduates each. As one can imagine, there were plenty of memories, stories, and enjoyment of one another’s company throughout the tour.

Members of the Norwich family gather for a photo op at Ouistreham Bunker, a German bunker and observation post overlooking Sword Beach in the British sector. (Photo by Corinne Joimel)

Members of the Norwich family gather for a photo op at Ouistreham Bunker, a German bunker and observation post overlooking Sword Beach in the British sector. (Photo by Corinne Joimel)

Our accommodations were excellent in their location and reflective of the Norman countryside and village life. The food was extraordinary and the French wines, well what can one say? The tour itself was magnificent in its scope and presentation by the National World War II Museum and our excellent local Normandy guide, Corinne Joimel. Corinne’s family had lived through the Nazi occupation and her perspective and discussion of that time were vivid.

The beaches and sites of the D-Day invasion, the museums and locations of military battles, and the German, English, French Resistance, and U.S. troop movements, defenses, positions and cemeteries were expertly discussed and visited.

We were all quite moved by the sheer scope, magnitude, and logistics of the invasion, and in awe of the courage, dedication, and devotion to duty these men and women displayed during that time. Walking through the cemeteries of the fallen soldiers was reflective and inspiring, as we realized the sacrifice they made.

As a group, we all agreed we are looking forward to the next National WWII Museum tour, possibly in the Ardennes in Belgium involving the Battle of the Bulge. Please consider joining us! – Rick Bullens ’68

Tour Attendees:
Dr. Ralph Kristeller ’50
Dr. Bob Lauben’60
Lyn Lauben (wife of Bob ’60)
Bob Maccarini ’60
LTC Al Chioffe ’63
Bill McIntosh ’67
Rachel McIntosh (wife of Bill ’67)
Mark Murphy ’67
Gracy Murphy (wife of Mark ’67)
Phil Todd ’68
Dottie Todd (wife of Phil ’68)
Rick Bullens ’68
Diane Bullens (wife of Rick ’68)
John Koelmel ’70
Gary Morton ’80
Lenore Schmidt M’93 & M’95
Carrie DeFelice ’02
Marc DeFelice ’03
CPT Allison Gerlach, USA M’07 & M’10
Noel Freeman M’09
Sandra Noyes (widow of Oliver Noyes ’63)
Mary Ann DeFelice (mother of Marc ’03)
Carol Ladue (mother of Carrie DeFelice ’02)
Nelson Ladue (father of Carrie DeFelice ’02)
Fritzie Paine (honorary NU guest)

For more information about upcoming National WWII Museum tours, visit: ww2museumtours.org.

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