WWII vet returns to French villages he helped liberate
On Aug. 15, 1944, Robert Webber stepped foot on French soil for the first time with his fellow soldiers in the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. While the majority of the Allied forces jumped into northern France at Normandy on D-Day June 5, 1944, Webber’s unit was a part of Operation Dragoon to push the Germans out of Southern France.
Now 93 years old, the Stillwater resident will return to France for the first time in 72 years to celebrate the success of the liberating operation with the families of the French people he and his friends fought for.
“I saw in one of my paratrooper magazines this trip to go back and be a part of the holiday they have every year on Aug. 15 to commemorate our jump into France,” Webber said. “I decided that now was the time to go.”
Still living in his Stillwater home, Webber has a little difficultly getting around. Webber’s son, Bruce, heard his father talk about the trip and decided they would go together. They planed to leave Aug. 10 and spend about nine days traveling around southern France. Bruce, a Vietnam veteran, said he knows how important this trip will be.
“We are both a couple of softies,”Bruce said. “It’s going to be very emotional.”