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    29th ID Soldiers find hidden treasures within ranks during Normandy observances

    SAINTE-MERE EGLISE, FRANCE

    06.01.2017

    Story by Staff Sgt. Tamika Dillard 

    U.S. Army Europe and Africa     

    By Master Sgt. Sean McCollum and Staff Sgt. Tamika Dillard
    29th Infantry Division Public Affairs and D-Day 73 Media Operations Center

    Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France – Everday, U.S. service members are sent to accomplish missions around the world and are expected to use every resource available to them.

    Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division did just that while participating in D-Day 73 commemorations taking place in Normandy, France May 31-June 7.

    “We are fortunate to have Soldiers within our formation with hidden talents,” said Maj. Christina Perronie, officer-in-charge. “Currently we have Spc. Cuestas, who speaks French fluently, helping on a variety of interactions…from assisting in ordering food at the local restaurants to interacting with local families and veterans.”

    Perronie added that Cuestas’ translation skills have been invaluable to the success of the commemorative mission.

    “My grandmother owns a French cultural school in Panama,” said Spc. Carmen Cuestas, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear noncommissioned officer. “At age 16, I spent two years as an exchange student in the French city of Toulouse.”

    Cuestas said she has continued this education as an adult.

    “Each academic semester, I focus on a different aspect of French culture,” she said. “I have a love for French films, literature and art. I also visit my uncle, who lives in Leon, quite regularly to stay fluent.”

    Without Soldiers like Cuestas, others like Sgt. Alexander Schmidt, a senior satellite communications operator with the division, would have to rely on traditional methods of communicating with our European allies.

    “When Cuestas isn’t with us, I pull out my cellphone and use a translation app for help,” Schmidt said.

    Many of the locals understand U.S. service members do not speak French, Perronie added. However, the most important thing is that we show the local communities that we care enough to try to speak their language and want to continue to build trusted relationships.

    Overall, approximately 400 service members are participating in events and ceremonies to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multinational amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, highlighting the U.S.’ steadfast commitment to European allies and partners.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.01.2017
    Date Posted: 06.02.2017 02:59
    Story ID: 236105
    Location: SAINTE-MERE EGLISE, FR

    Web Views: 230
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN