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August 15, 2019 – An Open Night – All are Welcome
Jumping Into Normandy
— 75 Years Later —
Franky at Chino
WWII ADT DDAY 75th_Daniels
Franky Ortega is a parachute member of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team. The team is based in an original Army Air Force hangar in Frederick, Oklahoma and operates a C-47 and C-49. The facility includes a barracks, mess hall, parachute rigger shop, classroom, an assortment of vehicles, etc. On June 5th, he participated in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day flying across the English Channel in the lead aircraft of the greatest armada of vintage aircraft since WWII.
The focus of his talk will center on the preparations leading up to the Normandy jumps and will speak of the mission to honor, remember, and serve the memories of both past and current members of the armed forces. In addition, he will speak of what it is like to be a part of the WWII ADT; from packing a parachute, doing a night jump, and earning a 1943 Dodge Ambulance driver's "license."
Franky, right, about to jump
WWII ADT DDAY 75th_Daniels
Cross Channel Jump
Franky's passion for history began at an early age growing up with a hardworking mother, and although she dropped out of an American middle school to work as a farmworker, as a migrant son Franky realized what a privilege it was to be born in a country full of opportunity and risk. Living a constant life of change and often struggle allowed him to see the benefits of always challenging yourself. He has been teaching history for 14 years at several Los Angeles County high schools including more recently at the remaining buildings of the WWII Birmingham Army Hospital.
As a National Board Certified Teacher he has trained hundreds of educators through 45-hour salary point courses on WWII at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley where he serves as a board member. He is an affiliate educator with the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and is currently collaborating with WWII author Jay Wertz to create comic book pedagogical curriculum. He has written over a dozen historical entries for a college-level encyclopedia, and is constantly involved in research projects and providing guest lectures, walking tours and partnering with the Wings Over Wendys veterans group, Holocaust survivors, and others to provide educational programming.
In the summer of 2013, Franky had decided he needed to join a Living History reenactment group because he realized that no amount of primary and secondary source documents or textbook would suffice to immerse him fully in the curriculum he teaches. He joined the 82nd Airborne through the California Historical Group to get a better sense of WWII through the "eyes" of a soldier.
At the time, he had limited military historical knowledge, no military relatives, and no prior military service, but a constant curiosity led him to travel the world in search of historic sites and to hear first hand accounts from eyewitnesses to history. He is constantly attending educator seminars such as the National Endowment for Humanities, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, USS Midway, and others which he believes have been instrumental in his ability to serve the educational needs of his students.