La Motte

During the preparation phase of the airborne operations preliminary to the disembarkation of Provence, FABTF commanders place the village of La Motte in the center of the jump zones. This is the F Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 517th PIR, commanded by Capt. John F. McKinley who is responsible for seizing the town in the early hours of D-Day. During the jump, some men from 2/517 land on the roofs or in the streets of the village.

However, the vast majority of the company lands north of Le Muy where it rubs against a solidly entrenched enemy. Trying to get out of trouble, the men of the company walk toward the village.

About one kilometer from La Motte, the company's men en route to the village discover the body of Alton Shanneyfelt, shot in the head by a sniper. During the march Lt. Riddle, covered by two scouts and a BAR Gunner capture 8 German soldiers. The left flank of the patrol approaching the village, discovered that already several paratroopers American and British 6th Welsh Para Battalion, occupy La Motte.

Major Forrest Paxton (Regimental S-3) landed 2 km south of Le Muy and gathered his stick while waiting for the sunrise. He then moves north to Sainte Roseline and finds 1st Lt. John Alicki, a few of his Demo Platoon and officers including, Regimental Surgeon Major Vella, Chaplain Capt. Charles Brown (Protestant), and Major John Kinzer (460th S-3). Arriving west of the village, Paxton brings together another 75 men from F / 517, 460th and Engineers. The group enters La Motte at 8:55AM and a contact is established with E/517, without any Germans in the village. La Motte is the first town in Provence to be liberated.