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Delta, Best Defense Foundation return WWII veterans to Normandy for 79th D-Day anniversary

Last June, for the inaugural year of this endeavor, a Delta Charter flight touched down in Deauville, France – a first for a U.S. passenger airline – to return WWII veterans to the site for D-Day commemorations. On May 31, the historic charter once again departed to return WWII Veterans to the beaches of Normandy for the 79th anniversary of D-Day.
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Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

For the second consecutive year, Delta had the distinguished honor of flying more than 40 World War II veterans on a charter flight to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  

This program, operated in partnership with community partner Best Defense Foundation and with support from Michelin, underscores Delta’s longstanding commitment to and support of veterans.  

Last June, for the inaugural year of this endeavor, a Delta Charter flight touched down in Deauville, France – a first for a U.S. passenger airline – to return WWII veterans to the site for D-Day commemorations. On May 31, the historic charter once again departed to return WWII Veterans to the beaches of Normandy for the 79th anniversary of D-Day.   

Delta provided additional support to the WWII veterans for this year’s trip, with several employees – who are part of the airline’s Veteran Business Resource Group – receiving special training through the Best Defense Foundation to serve as primary care providers. This training included dedicated time for employees to build friendship and trust with their assigned veteran prior to the journey. Each volunteer is paired with a veteran individually to ensure they can provide the best support throughout the duration of the trip.  

“We’re honored to work alongside the Best Defense Foundation to support our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “The Delta team will display their world-class service excellence for our heroes traveling on this milestone journey, which is a true representation of our values. I’m grateful for the many members of the Delta team who are dedicating their time and passion for this endeavor.” 

Return to Normandy: Sendoff dinner at the Delta Flight Museum
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Rank Studios for Delta Air Lines

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.
Delta hosted a special event Tuesday for World War II veterans, heard their rich stories, gave them a warm Delta welcome and bid them bon voyage before their charter departs for Deauville, Normandy.

On Tuesday evening, the Best Defense Foundation hosted a kickoff dinner sponsored by Delta to honor and celebrate the veterans attending this year’s program. The evening featured remarks from Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Delta Connection SVP Jim Graham, Best Defense Foundation Founder Donnie Edwards, Michelin’s CEO of North America Alexis Garcin and Consul General of France Anne-Laure Desjonqueres. 

“It is an honor to provide these heroes the opportunity to be reunited with the people of Normandy and to participate in the 79th Anniversary of D-Day.  Through the power of corporate partnerships like Delta Air Lines and Michelin, and thanks to Delta’s direct charter flight to Deauville, Best Defense Foundation is able to return many more WWII veterans and to add an educational component this year in including young students on our program. I am also very grateful to our team of over 80 volunteers including 13 of Delta finest Veterans. We are privileged to be able to serve our Greatest Generation once again and to be part of history in doing so.” 

Normandy Charter 2023 Arrival
Veterans sign memorabilia and meet fans during a lunch that preceded the sendoff of more than 40 WWII veterans to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
Veterans sign memorabilia and meet fans during a lunch that preceded the sendoff of more than 40 WWII veterans to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion. 
2Lt. Betty Rosevear signs memorabilia during a lunch that preceded the sendoff of more than 40 WWII veterans to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
2Lt. Betty Rosevear signs memorabilia during a lunch that preceded the sendoff of more than 40 WWII veterans to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion. 
WWII veterans are greeted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before boarding a flight to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
WWII veterans are greeted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before boarding a flight to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
WWII veteran Jimmy Doi arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to board a flight to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.

Jimmy Doi is among the more than 40 WWII veterans being flown to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  

 

Andy Negra is among the more than 40 WWII veterans being flown to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
Andy Negra is among the more than 40 WWII veterans being flown to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
The Dutchtown High School marching band, also traveling to Normandy to play during the D-Day Commemoration, treated the WWII veterans to a special performance followed by an honor guard ceremony. 
The Dutchtown High School marching band, also traveling to Normandy to play during the D-Day Commemoration, treated the WWII veterans to a special performance followed by an honor guard ceremony. 
Lt2 Betty Rosevear is among the more than 40 WWII veterans being flown to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
Lt2 Betty Rosevear is among the more than 40 WWII veterans being flown to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
WWII veterans are greeted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before boarding a flight to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
WWII veterans are greeted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before boarding a flight to Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.  
A veteran is greeted by children upon arrival in Normandy, France for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
For the second consecutive year, Delta had the distinguished honor of flying more than 40 World War II veterans on a charter flight to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion. Upon arrival at Normandie-Deauville Airport (DOL), the veterans were greeted by Normandy residents, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, French dignitaries and children.
More than 40 World War II veterans were greeted by Normandy residents, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, French dignitaries and children upon arrival at Normandie-Deauville Airport (DOL) for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.
For the second consecutive year, Delta had the distinguished honor of flying more than 40 World War II veterans on a charter flight to Normandy, France, for the 79th annual commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion.

Ahead of the departure, a gate event was held to honor the veterans before the boarding process. An airport processional followed the veterans as they prepared for boarding. The Dutchtown High School marching band, also traveling to Normandy to play during the D-Day Commemoration, treated the veterans to a special performance followed by an honor guard ceremony. 

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