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US ambassador marks D-Day with Normandy parachute jump

Charly Triballeau / AFP - Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin (C) stands after jumping over Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Normandy, western France, on Sunday, during the ceremonies of the the D-Day's 66th anniversary.

U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin took part in a mass parachute jump over the coast of Normandy on Sunday to mark the 68th anniversary of the Allied invasion of mainland Europe in World War Two.

Rivkin, 60, posted a picture of himself in flight on Twitter, along with the comment: "Proud to be the first US Ambassador to France to jump out of an airplane in honor of our troops."

Thousands of U.S. and other Allied paratroopers began the assault on German coastal defenses with a dangerous night jump behind enemy lines early on June 6, 1944.  

US Army photo via Twitter feed @AmbRivkin

US Ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, making his parachute jump over Normandy on Sunday, according to his official Twitter feed.

Following in the footsteps of Allied paratroopers who parachuted into German-occupied Normandy hours before the seaborne assault on the beaches, Rivkin made the leap despite strong winds which resulted in light injuries to six fellow jumpers, France 3 television reported. Two of the jumpers ended up in trees, France's English-language newspaper The Connexion reported. 

U.S., French and German paratroopers took part in the jump, Reuters reported.

"France has been our ally from the start and the evidence is here in this field," Rivkin told TF1 television after landing. 

It was Rivkin's first jump, The Connexion reported.  The event had been planned for 450 parachutists to take part but high-winds meant that number was cut to 150, the newspaper added. 

Rivkin, the son of an ambassador himself, is the former president of The Jim Henson Company, makers of The Muppets, according to the U.S. Embassy in France

Msnbc.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report.


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