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La Fière

The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike"

The term "Iron Mike" is uniquely American slang used to refer to men who are especially tough
Leah Hiebert
1960-61 (copy 1997)

Sainte-Mère-Église /  The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike"   Sainte-Mère-Église /  The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike"

Description

4.25 meter (14 foot) tall bronze statue of a World War II era Airborne trooper with a Thompson submachine gun. The model was Sergeant Major James Runyon.

The statue is a copy of the sculpture made in 1960 and 1961 for Fort Bragg. This original was made from polyester strips dipped in epoxy and stretched over a steel frame. Due to deterioration, it was replaced in 2005 with a bronze version. The original was refurbished and was moved to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina on June 14, 2010.

The bronze copy at La Fiere was unveiled on 7 June 1997.

Inscription(s)

IRON MIKE

a greatful tribute
to american airborne soldiers
of "d-day"
6 june 1944 7 june 1997

On 7 June 2015 a large stone text plaque was unveiled by the Friends of the American Veterans Association (AVA). The text was written by COL (Ret) Keith Nightingale. A French translation was added at the other side of the base.

THE BATTLE FOR LA FIERE BRIDGEHEAD 6-9 JUNE 1944
The area encompassing both the La Fiere bridge and the causeway
with the sister bridge and causeway at Chef du Pont
were crucial objectives for this portion of
the Normandy invasion. From 6 to 9 June the battle raged
within sight of this monument. As a final "all in" assault at 10h30
on 9 June the causeway and bridgehead at Cauquigny church
were seized by elements of the 82nd Airborne Division supported
by elelments of the 4th and 90th infantry Divisions
and the 746th Tank Battalion.
For the Normandy campaign the 82nd Airborne was awarded an estimated
38 Distinguished Service Crosses
271 Silver Stars
925 Bronze Stars
5,209 Purple Hearts
Two Medals of Honor were awareded for actions
within sight of this monument.
PRIMARY UNITS ENGAGED WITHIN SIGHT OF THIS LOCATION:
1st Bn 505th PIR
507th PIR
508th PIR
G/3-325th GIR / 2nd Bn 401st GIR
325th GIR (-)
307th Abn Engr Bn
80th AAA Bn (Anti-tank)
Command Group 82nd Airborne Div
APPROXIMATE CASUALTIES AT AND NEAR THIS LOCATION:
Killed 254 Wounded 525
"One of the most hotly contested pieces of ground in WW2"
(SLA Marshall - US Army historian)
THE SOUL OF THE AIRBORNE RESIDES IN THIS PLACE

7 juin 2015 Association A V A

LA BATAILLE DU PONT DE LA FIÈRE
6-9 JUIN 1944

Le secteur englobant le pont de la Fière
la chaussée et le pont de Chef de Pont constituait
des objectifs stratégiques pour cette zone
du débarquement de Normandie.

Du 6 au 9 juin la bataille fit rage autour de ce monument.
L'assaut final se déroula á partir de 10h30 le 9 juin
pour la prise de la chaussée jusqu'á la chapelle de Cauquigny.

Les parachutistes de la 82e ABN
accomplirent cette mission avec le renfort de troupes
des 4e et 90e divisions d'infanterie et du 746e Tank Battalion.

Pour l'ensemble de la campagne de Normandie
la 82e ABN reçut les décorations suivantes:
38 Distinguished Service Crosses
271 Silver Stars
925 Bronze Stars
5.209 Purple Hearts
Deux parachutistes reçurent
la "MEDAL OF HONOR" pour leurs actions héroïques
dans ce voisinage.

Les unités principales engagées dans cette bataille
sont listées sur la plaque.
Pertes approximatives autour de ce site commémoratif:
254 TUÉS - 525 BLESSÉS

Sla Marshall - historien de l'Armée Américaine
l'a désigné comme:
"L'un des théâtres d'opération
les plus disputés de la 2e Guerre Mondiale"

L'ÂME DES PARACHUTISTES HABITE CE LIEU

7 juin 2015 - Association A V A - Airborne Museum

Signature

cornille | villedieu

Annotation

A memorial park honoring the US parachutists actions on the night of 5-6 June 1944. There was a strategic bridge across the river Merderet here at the hamlet of La Fière. The Germans were entrenched in the manor of La Fière across the street, and this was the scene of heavy fighting over the bridge, ultimately sucessfully taken and defended by troopers from the 82nd Airborne division.

In the memorial park are amongst other also:

Sainte-Mère-Église - The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike" Sainte-Mère-Église - The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike"

Sainte-Mère-Église - The Airborne Trooper - "Iron Mike"

Sculptor

Sources & Information

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Location (N 49°24'5" - W 1°21'46")

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Item Code: frbn091; Photograph: 5 August 2015
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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