Ridgefielder visits Normandy for D-Day dedication of statue honoring her father

Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy (center) stands in front of the statue dedicated to her father, Gen. James Gavin, on D-Day near the French town of Ste. Mère Église. Left to right: Bucky Chappell (son-in-law), Jim Fauntleroy (son), Barbara, Neil Howard (son-in-law), Barbara Howard (daughter), Steve Fauntleroy (son).

Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy of Ridgefield was in Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where a statue honoring her father, Gen. James Gavin, was dedicated on June 6.

Gen. Gavin, also known as “Jumpin’ Jim” because he participated in combat drops with paratroopers under his command, took a leading role in some of the most momentous operations of World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge and the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

His mission in Normandy was to capture the town of Ste. Mère Église, a key communications crossroad. When he landed on D-Day, he was a brigadier general and assistant commander of the 82d Airborne Division. He was soon given command of the division and was promoted to major general.

At the end of the war he was chosen to lead the victory parade in New York City.

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