I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have this ride contribute in some way to veterans’ causes. What better way than to bring two worlds together: My grandfather’s 79th Infantry Division of WW2 and my service as a Green Beret in modern day warfare. My grandfather, Bill Aleshire, was a member of Cannon Co, 315th Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. I, Dan McCarley, was previously a member of 5th Special Forces Group and am currently serving in 20th Special Forces Group. I had heard of the the Green Beret Foundation while in 5th Group so I knew they had a reputation for being a straightforward, honest group that really helped guys and their families out. My mom, in her search for a charity that fit with us, went ahead and contacted them. They loved the idea of what we’re doing and decided to partner up with us. Our goal is to raise a dollar for every mile we ride during our trip, but I’m hoping we can far surpass that.
We’ll be visiting many historical sites of battles fought by the 79th Division and exploring some of the historical aspects of the war, the unit, and all kinds of interesting things. Places of note on our trip are:
Cherbourg - The first major port city taken my allied forces and used as the logistics hub for most forces throughout the war.
La Haye du Puits and Montgardon - Location of the 79th’s first major battle, including Hill 84, where they pushed through even despite heavy losses. La Haye du Puits is the location of the 79th Division monument which the 315th Regiment association, in conjunction with the French government, had constructed
Lauterbourg - Site of the famous “You Are Now Entering Germany” sign which the division had erected soon after their push into Germany for the first time in December 1944.
Rittershoffen and Hatten - two small towns in northeast France where the unit had perhaps it’s hardest fighting of the entire war. Only 2 battalions, supported by tanks from the 14th Armoured Division, held off 2 divisions of Nazi armored infantry and airborne troops.
Reipertswiller - Site where two battalions of the 315th Regiment were sent to back up the 45th Infantry Division during Germany’s push back into France.
Sivry-sur-Meuse - a small village just outside of which stands a monument to the 316th Regiment of the 79th Division of World War 1, errected in 1928.
Dinslaken, Germany - The first town across the Rhine river the 79th took as they pushed into Germany with the rest of the allied forces during the crossing of the Rhine, a major milestone signaling the German power decline.
Part of the essence of the trip is to reflect on the unit’s journey and the individuals’ stories - we intend to do some sort of remembrance at each location: basically, It will be something along the lines of a video of us telling the story in the location it happened or some sort of video collage of the area and the person - the format is not 100% decided yet. We will burn a candle and/or plant an American flag at each location for each individual as well.
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