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Eagle Scouts plan special trip to honor D-Day

4/24/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

BATH — Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troop No. 380 are hoping to celebrate and honor the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, France at the site of the historic event.

According to the U.S. Army military website, www.army.mil/d-day/, on D-Day, which took place June 6, 1944, 160,000 allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy on that day. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion, and by day’s end, the allies gained a foothold in Normandy. More than 9,000 allied soldiers were killed or wounded in the effort, but more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

The Eagle Scouts from the troop, which is based at Montrose Zion United Methodist Church, includes two high school students and several freshman college students, as well as a number of adults, most of whom are also Eagle Scouts. The group is planning to participate in an educational and historical experience of D-Day by touring the World War II Normandy beach area, museum and cemeteries, according to Mike Chaffee, who is one of the adult Eagle Scouts from the troop participating in the trip.

“These young men [Eagle Scouts of Boy Scout Troop No. 380] are the future leaders of our community and country,” said Chaffee, who earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1971. “It is essential that they obtain the knowledge and firsthand experience of the price paid by past generations for the freedom we enjoy today.”

Chaffee said he believes there is not enough history taught in schools today about World War I and II, and this trip will give participants an opportunity to learn about the sacrifices made that day.

The group plans to be in France June 10-20. The Eagle Scouts will be under the guidance of French historian and author Dominique Francois while overseas. The group will visit the Normandy Beach area, Omaha Beach and the massive fortifications and other battle sites, such as the Battle of The Bulge, in addition to the Rhine River and Luxembourg, where Gen. George Patton is buried, according to Chaffee.

One of the other Eagle Scout adults going is 91-year-old William Miller, who was Chaffee’s scoutmaster.

“Miller is a decorated veteran and a retired colonel of the U.S. Army,” he said. “I have never met a man with more integrity and love for his fellow man than William Miller.”

Other adult Eagle Scouts going on the trip are Jeffrey Morgan, a member of the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Hood in Texas; and Sam Parri, who will be taking his son, Sam, a high school junior Eagle Scout, on the trip.

Chaffee said the total budget for the trip is $80,000, and they have raised about $40,000 to date. Donations are being accepted to help with the cost of the trip. To make a donation, send a check made out to Boy Scout Troop No. 380–Normandy to: Mike Chaffee, 3250 W. Market St., Suite 206, Fairlawn, OH 44333. Donations are tax deductible, with receipts to be sent to donors, Chaffee said.

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