LST 393 D-Day commemoration joins national and international events to honor 75th anniversary

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– PHOTOS BY JEANNE VOLLMER

By Cynthia Price

D-Day, often heralded as the turning point in the World War II struggle against Nazi Germany, was a massive invasion by U.S., Canadian and British forces into the German-occupied territory of France, specifically several beaches in Normandy including Omaha Beach.

The largest seaborne invasion in history, Operation Overlord resulted in 10,000 casualties on just the first day.

It happened on June 6, 1944, which is 75 years ago, meriting a huge worldwide celebration of courage at a time when some of the participants are still alive.

However, Muskegon got a little ahead of the curve by holding its first D-Day commemoration aboard the LST 393 five years ago.

“D-Day Plus 75” took place last weekend, held as it always has been on the Friday and Saturday closest to the June 6 date. It is sponsored by Rolling Thunder Michigan Chapter 4 veterans support group. The Examiner for 6/6/18 carried an article about the origins of the commemoration, which is designed to raise awareness about prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action (POW-MIAs) and the services offered by Rolling Thunder to help veterans. Sean Boomer and Dave Johnson are the main organizers.

On June 6, officials gathered in Normandy and a large group got together on Omaha Beach – a celebration which included those who had been there, other veterans and the general public.

The Muskegon celebration, held aboard the city’s historic World War II Landing Ship Tank LST 393 ship museum, was packed full of WWII-themed events: praising veterans, offering educational tours, hosting a swing dance USO style and a pinup fashion show (by the Do Good Gals), conducting an air raid reenactment and honoring two Purple Heart recipients and a real-life “Rosie the Riveter.”

One interesting aspect of the Normandy Invasion related directly to the 2019  on board the LST 393 was called Operation Bodyguard.

In order to catch the Germans off-guard with the long-planned invasion, the Allies conducted a number of misinformation campaigns. A particularly elaborate one involved creating an entire false U.S. Army group allegedly operating out of Kent and Sussex England to confuse the enemy about where attacks would originate (as well as the date). The ruse involved rerouting radio messages through a landline and then re-broadcasting them from Kent, so that the Germans would think the majority of troops were stationed there.

Though not intended to deceive, a first-time radio communications event took place during this year’s commemoration. Two amateur radio operators, Hercules Andrus and Sharon Settlemyre, joined something called “Museum Ships on the Air” by successfully making contact on June 1 with such museum ships as the USS Iowa in San Pedro, Calif. the Tall Ship Elissa in Texas, the submarine USS Nautilus in Groton, CT, and others.

“It was fun to make contact with other ships and radio operators in many states, including Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, and others,” says Settlemyre, who says it was the first time in three years that radio contact was made from the LST 393 to other ships.

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Veterans Jobs Fair pulls in almost 60 employers

Veterans and non-veterans alike are encouraged to attend the 8th Annual Veterans Job Fair on Thursday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the L.C. Walker Arena.

The event was begun in 2012 by former State Rep. Holly Hughes and Dave Eling, former director of the Veterans’ Center of Muskegon County.

The Veterans Center  has helped match hundreds of potential employees with employers since its inception.  The event now has 59 employers (and growing) from various industries on hand to meet with prospective employees. Last year many people received on-the-spot job offers.

Volunteers of America will help with providing volunteers at this event. 

Mike Baauw, Director of Muskegon Veterans Center, has advice to those looking for a job. “Come with resumes in hand and dress for success because interviews may be held at the time of the event.”

“We have been very successful over the past 7 years connecting job seekers with employers,” said Hughes.  “We have a tremendous amount of talent in our hometown with both our veteran community and our non-veterans, and we want to make sure that there is a place where potential employees and employers can network.”

This year, representatives from DTE Energy will be onsite and looking to fill more than a dozen positions and want to hire motivated individuals with a variety of backgrounds.

“In 2012 I found myself unemployed after seven years in my previous position and serving as a United States Air Force Flight Engineer. I was hired at DTE in October  of 2012 with the Gas business.  Ten months after being hired and training, a supervisor position opened, and I was offered the position,” said Jeff Sellon, Gas operations supervisor, DTE Energy. “I know this job fair helped to change my life, and I’m sure it will continue to change the lives of fellow veterans.”

Additional companies are encouraged to participate; contact Mike Baauw 231-724-7143 or BaauwM@co.muskegon.mi.us

The following employers have open positions and will be attending the fair:

ADAC
ADAC Plastics
Aerotek
AFLAC
Arconic (Alcoa Howmet)
Bennett Pump
Best Financial
Busche Aluminum
County of Muskegon
Dean Transportation
DeWys Mfg
DISHER
DK Security
DNR – Law Enforcement Division
DTE Energy
Eagle Alloy
EDU Staffing Solutions
Engine Power Components
Epi Breads
Fasttracks
First General CU
Forge Industrial Staffing
GE Aviation
Goodwill Industries
Herman Miller
HGA Support Services
JOST International
Kautex
Kelly Services
Knoll
Kuperus Trucking
L-3 CPS
Manpower
MasterTag
Meijer Inc.
Mercy Health
METS
Michigan Department of Corrections
Michigan’s Adventure
MOKA
Muskegon Family Care
New York Life
Non Ferrous Cast Alloys
NPR of America, Inc
Port City Group
Preferred Employment & Living Supports
RAMI
Scherdel Sales and Technology
Sintel
Speedway
State of Michigan Dept. of Treasury
Sun Chemical
Tele-Rad Inc. & TR Tactical
TGW
Two Men and a Truck
US Customs/Border Prot
Webb Chemical
Wesco
West Michigan Molding
West Michigan Works!

 

 

 

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