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Plaque Honoring 225th Placed
at National D-Day Memorial

   January 2, 2004 — A bronze plaque engraved with an abbreviated unit history of the 225th has been placed at the National D-Day Museum in Bedford, Virginia. The plaque is 12 inches wide by 18 inches high.

   The following abbreviated unit history of the 225th is inscribed on the plaque:

225th AAA Searchlight Battalion

Activated on 15 November 1942 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, as the 3rd Battalion of the 510th Coast Artillery Regiment, the unit was redesignated the 225th Searchlight Battalion on 20 January 1943. Well trained and technically proficient, the 225th boarded HMS Queen Mary and sailed for Great Britain in December of 1943. At Newcastle-on-Tyne, that battalion shared in the air defense of Great Britain under the operational control of the 30th AAA Battalion (British) and continued rigorous training in the interdiction of enemy targets and provision of homing illumination for Allied aircraft.

   On 11 June 1944 an advance party from the battalion landed on Omaha Beach to reconnoiter battery positions, and the battalion landed en echelons in the days that followed, deploying in hedgerows around St. Laurent, Isigny, Ste. Mère Eglise, and Carentan. Under tactical control of the 49th AAA Brigade and the 18th AAA Group, the battalion had the mission of protecting six beachhead airstrips by tracking and illuminating enemy aircraft firing automatic weapons.

   During the Battle of Normandy, the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion engaged seventy-six aircraft with lights and several with organic machine guns, thereby all but neutralizing the enemy's aerial threat in the battalion's area of operations. As the front moved east, the homing and illuminated canopy techniques honed during the battalion's last months in England facilitated the night landing of returning Allied aircraft.

   By intersecting the beams of three or more lights above landing fields, the battalion gave pilots a reference point that they could find even during periods of inclement weather. As the Germans retreated eastward, the battalion supported the pursuit and by V-E Day had provided some 2,000 homings and 4,000 safe landings for Allied aircraft. Between D+5 and V-E Day, the battalion received or shared credit for downling thirty-nine enemy airplanes and rockets. Following brief service in the Army of Occupation, the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion redeployed to the United States in December of 1945, two years after first boarding HMS Queen Mary.

Erected by the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion Veterans Association, Inc.

   The photo below shows the actual plaque (click on the photo to view a larger version).

   The 225th plaque is mounted in the section labeled "Post-D-Day Unit Plaques" on the plan below (click on the plan to view a larger version). It is located at one o'clock in the upper plaza between the Overlord Arch and the flagpoles. Imagine standing underneath the arch and looking due south toward the large flagpole. Then turn your eyes thirty degrees to the west. On the inside wall between the shorter flagpoles and the arch is you will find the plaque.

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