All Stephen Ambrose D-Day tours are operated by Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours, the best WWII and historical tour company in the business. Your entertaining and enlightening D-Day tour begins with our expert team in New Orleans, who work together to make your trip a seamless experience from the very beginning. Our home base staff includes historian Mark Bielski, who can answer any questions you may have about the historical aspects of our D-Day tours.
Stephen Ambrose always said that the best way to understand history is to study the places where it was made. Stephen Ambrose D-Day Tours has the most qualified historians lead our D-Day tours, including our chief historian Captain Ronald Drez, who assisted with Stephen Ambrose’s research. Our historians are leaders in their field and world-renowned authors. Their extensive research and interviews of WWII veterans on the very battlefields where they fought gives a soldier’s perspective to our tours.
Exclusive Local Guides
Because Stephen Ambrose founded Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours, we have long-standing relationships with the very best local guides in Normandy, France and the other countries in which we operate. As part of our expert team, they ensure that we can offer you exclusive opportunities to visit historic places and other sites that were crucial in WWII, something that no other D-Day or WWII tour company can offer.
Experienced Tour Escorts
Our tours always have a full-time, experienced tour escort, who is available to answer your questions and take care of any special requests you may have during your journey.
Our Tour Historians
Ron Drez, Chief Historian
Ronald Drez is an award-winning and best-selling author and historian. With Stephen Ambrose, he designed the original D-Day to the Rhine tour. Dr. Ambrose hand-picked Ron, his Eisenhower Center deputy, to lead the D-Day tours. Ron is a decorated Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War. He was the first to encounter the now legendary Band of Brothers in 1988, and has interviewed over 4,000 WWII veterans, showcasing their stories in his many writings. His passion and enthusiasm leave our guests with the memories of a lifetime. To quote one of our travelers, “Ron Drez was the history professor you wanted in college, but couldn’t get because his classes were always full. His stories are fascinating.”
Chris Anderson, Historian
Chris Anderson is a historian who is well versed in many aspects of American history with special expertise in the Normandy Invasion, Band of Brothers, and 101st Airborne as well as the American Revolution. As the former editor of WWII Magazine he edited and wrote about all areas of the U.S. involvement in that war. Chris was also one of the original creators of the Stephen Ambrose Band of Brothers Tour and was a personal confidant of Major Dick Winters, commander of Easy Company, as well as many other veterans of WWII.
Erik Flint, Historian
Erik Flint is the historian for our Operation Overlord Tour. He is the Director of the Lewis Army Museum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. A veteran of 30 years in uniform, Erik deployed twice to Iraq as a Combat Historian for the U.S. Special Operations Command History & Research Office and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve where he is a lead Command and General Staff Officer Course instructor. Erik holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Washington, a Master’s degree in International Land Warfare Studies from American Military University, and is currently working on a Doctorate in Modern History at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Erik resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife Caroline, and his daughter Willow.
Kevin Hymel, Historian
Kevin Hymel is the Research Director for WWII History and Military Heritage magazines and has written numerous articles for each. He is the author of Patton’s Photographs: War as He Saw It and has served as a historian at the U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Mr. Hymel has been a popular historian with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours for more than 10 years, and has appeared in numerous documentaries on the History Channel and American Heroes Channel. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from LaSalle University and Master’s Degree from Villanova University, both in History. He lives in Arlington, VA.
Our Home Base
Yakir Katz, President
Yakir’s passion for history began as a student at the University of New Orleans in the 1980s where he met Professor Stephen E. Ambrose. He viewed Dr. Ambrose as a mentor and friend. Together they designed and planned the itineraries for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours over the course of two decades. Under Yakir’s leadership, the company has continued to carry on Dr. Ambrose’s legacy. His youth on a kibbutz in Israel, experience as an IDF paratrooper, and extensive travel in the U.S. and Europe have given Yakir a keen understanding of international cultures, travel, and the military. He has applied this experience and knowledge to help earn Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours the reputation for offering the highest quality historical and WWII tours in the United States and Europe. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, Edie Ambrose, and two daughters, one of whom he hopes will carry on his love for historical travel that he shared with Dr. Ambrose.
Edie Ambrose, Ph.D., Historian
Edie Ambrose, Stephen Ambrose’s niece, served as his teaching assistant at the University of New Orleans. She received her Ph.D. in history at Tulane University and helped her uncle with the formation and development of Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. Edie is a regular consultant to our team of historians and is instrumental in designing new tours to offer to our guests as well as in creating deeper historical perspectives for our existing tours. She currently teaches American History and Western Civilization at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Mark Bielski, Ph.D., Director, Historian
Mark brings a wealth of professional experience in academics, journalism and executive management to Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours, where he is involved in business development, guiding, lecturing and tour itinerary design. He received his Ph.D. in war studies at the University of Birmingham, England. His ability to relate history in an engaging way coupled with his warmth and sense of humor, make him a favorite among our guests who have traveled with him. Mark has personally designed the WWII: Poland and Germany, D-Day to Berlin and The Civil War Eastern Theatre tours. The privileges and pleasures of Mark’s work are having the opportunity to interview and travel with numerous veterans and their families from WWII, the Korean conflict and Viet Nam.
Claire Aubrey, Operations Director
Claire brings an impressive expertise in travel logistics, as well as a love of culture, to her position as Operations Director for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. As the daughter of a Ballerina of the Paris Opera, Claire learned to speak French before English while growing up in Louisville, KY. She has traveled and lived in France, spending months in Nice before moving to New Orleans as a teenager. Her fluency in French and understanding of the culture has been an asset in booking hotels, chateaux and transportation on our WWII tours. Her extensive experience in the hospitality and travel industry includes working at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Hollywood and Embassy Suites in Atlanta, as well as 20 years as the Director of Operations for Spectacular Sports Specials, where she organized tours to major events throughout the world—Super Bowl, Masters, Final Four, Kentucky Derby, All-Star game, World Cup Soccer and the Olympics.
Olga Degtjarewsky, Operations
Having studied abroad in Florence, lived in Thailand, and gallivanted through Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and Greece, travel is second nature to Olga. So it was only natural that when she decided to settle down in New Orleans to be part of its rebirth post-Katrina, that Olga would accept a position with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. While her degree may be in Art History, it is history that she has fallen in love with since joining the company. Olga handles all of the logistics for the tours, making each one a seamless experience for our guests.
Terri Sercovich, Customer Service and Marketing
As the Customer Service and Marketing representative for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours, Terri is the go-to person for information and requests for all of our guests. She recently traveled on the Civil War: Mississippi River Key to the Confederacy tour, where everyone fell in love with her warm personality. Terri brings both a love of travel and a deep appreciation for the military to her work. She has lived in Nice, France and along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. A native of Louisiana, she comes from a long line of relatives who have proudly served in the armed forces. Her grandfathers, uncles, father and brother have represented almost every branch of the military from WWII to Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Prior to joining us, Terri spent 10 years as an award-winning reporter and photographer, covering modern historical events, including Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill. She now uses those skills as editor of the Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours newsletter.