Pilsen Liberation Festival

3rd Squadron, 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment displays one of its Stryker combat vehicles at the Pilsen Liberation Festival 2009.

On May 6, 2010 it will be 65 years since the end of WWII came to the city of Pilsen in what is now the Czech Republic. American soldiers from the 2d Cavalry Group, Third Army, under the command of General George S. Patton, were the first to reach south-western Bohemia and they decisively participated in the liberation of Pilsen itself, early on the morning of the 6th.

Despite being the 65th anniversary, this will only be the 20th year the city has been able to celebrate. Pilsen was freed from Communist rule in 1989 and has since then educated their citizens on the circumstances of their liberation, which were kept from them during Communist rule. Thus, it will be a landmark year for two reasons.

Since 1990, the city of Pilsen (also the home of the famous Czech beer Pilsner Urquell) has organized the annual “Liberation Festival” taking place in May, which has become a local tradition, and has been attended by many American and Allied veterans. This year 3d Squadron, 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment will again support the Festival in full force, with a display of vehicles and equipment representative of the Regiment today. The display will include Strykers as well as an M777 Howitzer from the Squadron’s Artillery Battery. The main event will consist of displays of historical and modern day weapons systems as well as a parade of classic WWII era military vehicles, many of which are kept in working condition by the Pilsen Military Car Club. Displays of historical camps, equipment, and weapons will be held from 1 – 6 May, with the festival culminating on 6 May with a memorial ceremony and a fireworks display.

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