D-Day Holds Special Meaning for USACEHR Commander

A crowd of soldiers and veterans paid tribute posthumously to Maj. Gen. Charles J. Timmes

A crowd of soldiers and veterans paid tribute posthumously to Maj. Gen. Charles J. Timmes during a wreath laying ceremony June 4. The then lieutenant colonel commanded the 2nd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day. Col. Thomas C. Timmes, U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research commander and grandson of Maj. Gen. Charles Timmes, recounted his grandfather's accomplishments that day during his promotion ceremony to colonel June 6. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research Commander Col. Thomas C. Timmes has a rich family military history including a grandfather who was instrumental in winning a small, yet significant D-Day battle. This distinguished heritage inspired Timmes to request that a ceremony recognizing his promotion to the rank of colonel was held June 6, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Timmes is a third generation Army officer. His father, retired Col. Thomas A. Timmes, served with the U.S. Army, and his grandfather, the late Maj. Gen. Charles J. Timmes, fought on D-Day.

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion, dubbed D-Day. The cost in lives that day was high. According to the U.S. Army's D-Day webpage more than 9,000 allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, trek across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler's troops.

"We enjoy our freedoms today because of their sacrifice," said Timmes, of the courage displayed by the allied troops who participated in the invasion.

Timmes' grandfather commanded the 2nd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Just two days preceding his own recognition, Timmes' grandfather was posthumously honored in Amfreville, France, as part of several commemorations in honor of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day operations.

Sgt. Daniel Cole with U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs covered the event. According to Cole, Timmes' grandfather, a lieutenant colonel at the time, and his men came under attack from enemy forces. The paratroopers kept the Nazi troops at bay for more than four exhausting days of combat. Two of Lt. Col. Charles Timmes' Soldiers were able to break from battle and seek help. U.S. forces arrived attacking the Germans from behind and overpowering the enemy.

Col. Thomas C. Timmes joined the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command as the Deputy Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program in June 2012. He took command of the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research in May 2013.

Now a colonel, Timmes said he looks forward to continuing to lead his staff in the fulfillment of their mission to the best of his abilities, thus carrying on his family's tradition of service.

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Last Modified Date: 17-Jun-2014