Remembering Operation Market Garden

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner
  • 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs

Nearly 80 years after World War II, onlookers gathered at Eindhoven Air Base on September 16, 2023, to watch a memorial flight that captured the spirit of valor and sacrifice that defined one of the war's boldest airborne operations, Operation Market Garden.
Operation Market Garden, commencing on September 17, 1944 and concluding on September 25, was a combined airborne and ground offensive involving British, American, and Polish troops. The operation sought to seize a series of key bridges in the Netherlands and open a liberation route for a rapid advance into northern Germany.
"Operation Market Garden served as proof of concept for coordinated, collaborative airborne movements, demonstrating that the concept of dropping paratroopers and towing gliders was not only a D-Day phenomenon,” said Shannon Murphy, 86th Airlift Wing historian. “The troop carrier units that transported the airborne units and towed gliders gave the operation a fighting chance, putting allied forces in place.”
The Dutch air force holds annual events in remembrance of the operation and the allied troops who risked their lives, including a flyover and other local festivities.
This year’s memorial flight consisted of nine aircraft; two Dutch C-130 Hercules aircraft, one Polish Airbus CASA C-295 Persuader aircraft, one Romanian CASA 295 aircraft, one Italian C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, two U.S. Air Force C130J Super Hercules aircraft, one German Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft and one Greek C130 Hercules aircraft.
“Being involved in the memorial drops has been great. The Dutch air force has done an exceptional job integrating with our NATO partners,” said Captain Samuel Sloan, 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules aircraft pilot. “It’s an honor to participate in memorializing such a historical event.”
Today, Operation Market Garden is remembered as a symbol of valor and determination. The memorial events will continue to serve as a tribute to the soldiers who fought bravely, highlighting the importance of remembering and learning from this pivotal chapter in World War II.