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Posted: January 19, 2018 10:25 a.m.
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Veteran supports liberation ceremony

Courtesy Photo/

Former Army Captain James Miller, Bluffton SC, rides in a liberation parade in Solles-Pont, France, Aug. 24. The parade is held every year to honor the allied soldiers in World War II who freed the town as part of Operation Dragoon in 1944.

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The 3rd Infantry Division began its distiguished combat history in France, 1917.  A 100 years later, a former Army captain represented the Marne Division during a liberation celebration in the French town of Solliès-Pont on August 24. 

In August of 1944, Soldiers from the 3rd Inf. Div., serving under the 7th Army, landed in Cavalaire, France as part of Operation Dragoon. In only four weeks, the combined allied forces were able to defeat the opposing German forces and liberate most of southern France. 

James Miller, a Bluffton, SC resident, served in Europe from 1967 – 1969 as an Army captain. During his service in Europe he became good friends with a French army officer who later retired to Solliès-Pont. Last year Miller was contacted by his French army counterpart who invited him to represent the U.S. Army at the 73rd Anniversary Celebration of the Liberation of Solliès-Pont. 

While researching the event, Miller discovered that it was 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers who liberated the town. Miller contacted the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division “Raider Brigade” here on Fort Stewart to offer to take a proclamation from the unit to be read at the celebration. 

At the request of Solliès-Pont officials, Miller wore his dress uniform but with the awards and campaign ribbons from the World War II operation which freed their town. After configuring his uniform and purchasing a division flag from the museum, Miller traveled in August to France where he participated in the event. 

Miller said that the reception from the town and its citizens was beyond his expectations and that he could not have been better received as the American representative.  

“I could not have imagined how appreciative the French citizens were for this event,” said Miller. “They have not forgotten their gratitude to the American military, as well as the other allies.”

The Mayor of Solliès-Pont, Dr. Andre Garron, read remarks Miller delivered on behalf of Colonel Mike Adams, commander of the Raider Brigade. In the remarks, Adams thanked the officials for allowing 3ID to be part of the event and paid tribute to the 3ID Soldiers and allies who liberated the town and Southern France. 

“We are here today bound by the events of 1944,” said Adams. “The French, U.S., British, and Canadian forces of the Allied Seventh Army were separated by language and culture but united by shared loyalties and beliefs.”

After the remarks, town officials presented Mr. Miller with a medal from the city in honor of all American Soldiers of the 7th Army who gave their lives during the campaign. A second medal was mailed to Fort Stewart with a letter from Garron.  

“The commemoration was an opportunity to honor the brilliant participation of the Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division who landed in Cavalaire on 15 August, 1944 and would go on to liberate France,” said Garron. “Please accept the Sollies-Pont Medal of Honor in tribute of all the American Soldiers of the 7th Army who gave their lives to liberate a country that is not theirs.”

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