C-47 Dakota and C-130 Fly In Formation Over Normandy – D-Day 70th Anniversary

Original Normandy C-47 flies over the beaches and villages it flew over 70 years ago with the help of the 37th Airlift Squadron’s C-130.

In 2014, celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy landings, the plane left its home at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York, to attend the historic event. It took approximately fourteen days to complete its trek across the Atlantic, but the participation of Whiskey 7 in the anniversary ceremonies went through without a hitch.

During the war, Whiskey 7 was assigned to the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron, from which the 37th Airlift Squadron, now based at Ramstein Germany, descends. The Dakota is believed to be the only remaining airworthy C-47 from the original carrier squadron, a distinctive status that sparked the bold idea for the plane’s return to Normandy.

In 1944, Whiskey 7 took off from RAF Cottesmore in England as the lead aircraft of the second wave it dropped her stick of paratroops from the 82nd Airborne Division on Drop Zone ‘0’ near St.-Mere Eglise, France, at shortly past 2 a.m. on June 6.

W-7 Normandy
A Douglas C-47 Skytrain, known as Whiskey 7, flies alongside a C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron over Germany, May 30, 2014. The C-47 came to Ramstein for a week to participate in base activities with its legacy unit, the 37th Airlift Squadron, before returning to Normandy to recreate its role and drop paratroopers over the original drop zone in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan)

“It was one of a handful of airplanes that actually put its troops directly on the drop zone … it was one of the very successful drops,” Polhemus said to the Stars and Stripes.

Whiskey 7 was only built one year before its use during the D-Day landings, but it has outlived many of its fellow aircraft. It has been given some modern equipment, such as GPS systems, to make the flight easier.

Two WWII vets, Bill Prindible and Bud Rice, watch from inside the newer plane as the plane they flew glides through the sky.

Video by Senior Airman Nicholas Crisp | 86th Airlift Wing
Main image:  U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint