“Amidst the horrors of war, over 4 million Americans served in World War I and more than 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice.” - Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command

Update:

One of our readers mentioned that it would be neat to see some of our troops march in the Bastille Day parade in World War I uniforms.

As so happens, the American soldiers of the U.S. contingent’s flag detail carried vintage 1903 Springfield rifles and were dressed in the uniform worn by World War I troops, with flat helmets, wool uniforms with choker necks and puttees. (Below)

DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique Pineiro

No military parade would be complete without display of military aircraft and flyovers. The Bastille Day parade did not disappoint. More than 60 military fixed wing aircraft and 29 helicopters flew down the Champs-Élysées.

Our own U.S. Air Force F-16 Thunderbirds, flanked by two F-22 Raptors, roared over the Arc de Triomphe to the Obelisk of Luxor in the Place de la Concorde, through the tri-color smoke trails left behind by preceding French Air Force Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets.(The Thunderbirds can be seen in the background of the photo below)

Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb

The Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s air demonstration squadron, fly by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, July 11, 2017, during a practice for the upcoming Bastille Day celebration in the city. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz

Original post:

Tomorrow, July 14, “Bastille Day,” is the French holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, “a turning point in the French Revolution.” Also, on April 6, 2017, it was the one hundred-year anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I.

To commemorate the centenary of the U.S. entry and to pay tribute to the American troops who fought in France a century ago, the French government has invited nearly 200 American service members troops to lead the military parade on Bastille Day along the famous Champs-Elysées in Paris.

The following are excerpts from a Department of Defense article:

The French government traditionally invites a country of honor to lead the parade, which is linked to a historical event and highlights a symbolic gesture of friendship.

“France stood with us during the American Revolution and that strategic partnership endures today,” said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command. “On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day Parade and help celebrate the French independence.”

The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and an F-22 are slated to conduct flyovers. The U.S. served as the country of honor and led the parade for the first time ever, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

“During the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, we commemorate America’s sons and daughters who defended peace — many of them descendants of European immigrants who came to America seeking freedom, and a better life,” Scaparrotti said. “Amidst the horrors of war, over 4 million Americans served in World War I and more than 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Lead photo: Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb

Edited to correct date errors.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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