Whiskey 7 Returns to Normandy for Anniversary

The Whiskey 7 is a C-47 war plane which took part in the D-Day invasions of the Second World War. In honor of the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy landings which occurs this year, the plane will be flying across the Atlantic from the United States and stopping in several countries on its way through to Omaha Beach. This mirrors the flight taken by the Whiskey 7 when it helped lead the squad of paratroopers invading the beaches.

There is no promise that the plane will stand up to the flight, and as such the crew involved in the honored flight will be bringing along several emergency supplies. Currently housed in the northeastern U.S., the Whiskey 7 has not even flown outside of the states in quite some time. Even the brave surviving members of the 101stAirborne division have some doubts as to whether or not the grand flight plan is all that good of an idea.

Those who have planned the trip have other things on their minds, such as the limited time they have for such a show of honor given the advanced age of most WWII veterans. They want to perform the grand gesture in a timely fashion, well aware that even the Whiskey 7 itself may not have much longer left in the way of years. The commemoration will include more than just the flight, but also the participation of a parachute squad to mimic the events of the day seventy years ago, The New York Times reports.

Flying the plane will be a challenge to the crew. Among the supplies they are bringing is included oxygen tanks for higher altitudes, as there is no proper circulation system in the plane itself. The flight will be freezing cold, and for the most part the Whiskey 7 will be unable to exceed speeds of one hundred and forty miles per hour. Still, none of the crew is letting this relative incapability by today’s standards discolor their understanding of the C-47 as one of the most important planes during the era of the war.

The Whiskey 7 was only built one year before its use during the D-Day landings, but it has outlived many of its fellow aircraft. This honor flight has only been in conception for two years, but the old C-47 has been a part of the idea for some time. It has been given some modern equipment, such as GPS systems, to make the flight easier. Even so, the Whiskey 7 and its appearance at the D-Day anniversary ceremonies should bring an air of former glories to the proceedings.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE