Congressional Delegation comes to Paris to honor memorial and support Air Show
PARIS, France - A congressional delegation of six senators and Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley arrived in Paris June 13, 2009, to partake in a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille Lafayette, in Marnes-la-Coquette, just outside Paris, France. They are also here to show their support for the Paris Air Show.
MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — A Congressional Delegation of six senators, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, French dignitaries and Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, U.S. Air Forces in Europe vice commander, place their hands over their hearts and salute in tribute during the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The wreath ceremony pays honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
4 photos: MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — A Congressional Delegation of six senators, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, French dignitaries and Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, U.S. Air Forces in Eu
Photo 1 of 4: MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — A Congressional Delegation of six senators, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, French dignitaries and Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, U.S. Air Forces in Europe vice commander, place their hands over their hearts and salute in tribute during the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The wreath ceremony pays honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez) Download full-resolution version
LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Capt. Darren Woodside (left), and Capt. Adam Court  assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, discuss the F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter's combat capabilities with Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. The F-15E Strike Eagle is one of the several U.S. military aircraft exhibited June 15-20 at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
4 photos: LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Capt. Darren Woodside (left), and Capt. Adam Court assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, discuss the F-15E Strike Eagle jet f
Photo 2 of 4: LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Capt. Darren Woodside (left), and Capt. Adam Court assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, discuss the F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter's combat capabilities with Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. The F-15E Strike Eagle is one of the several U.S. military aircraft exhibited June 15-20 at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez) Download full-resolution version
MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley praises Tech. Sgt. Mike Jackson, 1st Lt. Chris McDaniels and Staff Sgt. Fred Stevenson, members of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard in Germany, for their support to the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The ceremony attended by U.S. senators, the Secretary of the Air Force, U.S. and French dignitaries, paid honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
4 photos: MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley praises Tech. Sgt. Mike Jackson, 1st Lt. Chris McDaniels and Staff Sgt. Fred Stevenson, members of the 52nd Fighter Wing
Photo 3 of 4: MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley praises Tech. Sgt. Mike Jackson, 1st Lt. Chris McDaniels and Staff Sgt. Fred Stevenson, members of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard in Germany, for their support to the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The ceremony attended by U.S. senators, the Secretary of the Air Force, U.S. and French dignitaries, paid honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Master Sgt. Bill Gomez) Download full-resolution version
LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii shakes hands and lauds the pilots of the 41st Rescue Squadron and maintainers of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Both units from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. proudly display their HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The Pave Hawk rescue helicopter is one of the several U.S. military aircraft put on show 15-20 June at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
4 photos: LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii shakes hands and lauds the pilots of the 41st Rescue Squadron and maintainers of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Both uni
Photo 4 of 4: LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii shakes hands and lauds the pilots of the 41st Rescue Squadron and maintainers of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Both units from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. proudly display their HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The Pave Hawk rescue helicopter is one of the several U.S. military aircraft put on show 15-20 June at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez) Download full-resolution version
MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — A Congressional Delegation of six senators, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, French dignitaries and Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, U.S. Air Forces in Europe vice commander, place their hands over their hearts and salute in tribute during the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The wreath ceremony pays honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Capt. Darren Woodside (left), and Capt. Adam Court  assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, discuss the F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter's combat capabilities with Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. The F-15E Strike Eagle is one of the several U.S. military aircraft exhibited June 15-20 at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, FRANCE — Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley praises Tech. Sgt. Mike Jackson, 1st Lt. Chris McDaniels and Staff Sgt. Fred Stevenson, members of the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base Honor Guard in Germany, for their support to the wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette just outside of Paris June 13. The ceremony attended by U.S. senators, the Secretary of the Air Force, U.S. and French dignitaries, paid honor to the American volunteer combat flying aces known as the "Lafayette Escadrille" who flew under the French flag during World War I. (Department of Defense photo by Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)
LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France — Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii shakes hands and lauds the pilots of the 41st Rescue Squadron and maintainers of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Both units from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. proudly display their HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The Pave Hawk rescue helicopter is one of the several U.S. military aircraft put on show 15-20 June at the Paris Air Show 2009. (Department of Defense photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Gomez)

PARIS, France — A congressional delegation of six senators and Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley arrived in Paris June 13, 2009, to partake in a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial de l'Escadrille Lafayette, in Marnes-la-Coquette, just outside Paris, France. They are also here to show their support for the Paris Air Show.

The members of the congressional delegation were Senators Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, Tom Harkin of Iowa, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

The wreath laying ceremony, hosted by Aerospace Industries Association, pays homage to the American ace pilots known as the "Lafayette Escadrille." They were American volunteers who flew and under the French flag during World War I.

"It was a great day for the heritage of our Air Force," said Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, vice commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. "The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Foundation was honored to host six U.S. senators and industry who are here for the Paris Air Show. They all convened here in a place that represents our beginnings. The great support from the senators keeps the memorial going."

For the dignitaries and the event hosts, the memorial ceremony acts as a precursor to the annual Paris Air Show. The day after the ceremony, the congressional delegation came to Le Bourget Airport where the air show is held. They toured and met with the pilots and the maintainers from different branches of the Armed Forces that proudly brought and spruced up their unit's military aircraft for air show display.

U.S. fighters, rescue helicopters, airborne early warning aircraft, patriot missiles, mobility cargo planes, unmanned reconnaissance vehicles all were brought in to France for thousands of eager spectators when the event opens to the public June 19-21.

Senator Inouye, a World War II veteran and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, is a wounded war hero who at the age of 86, walked through each aircraft display and praised the men and women who represented their exhibit and said the wreath memorial and the air show are "both important events that strengthen relations between the United States, the French and our allies."

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