Taking a proactive approach to their commemorative operations and flyovers, four members of the D-Day Squadron undergo flight planning and formation preparations this week to bring hope, appreciation and honor with their ‘Operation SoCal Strong’ flyover on Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020. This 90-min flyover begins at noon pacific time over Loma Linda Medical Center and ends at Chino Airport. The entire flight path is provided in the accompanying graphic.
No stranger to tight formation and tribute flights, this squadron, a year ago yesterday, launched from Oxford, Connecticut’s KOXC airport for their “Mission to Normandy.” They successfully crossed the North Atlantic with 15 C-47 and DC-3 aircraft, completing multiple paratrooper drops and a Presidential flyover while participating in events including the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and commemorations in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Italy.
The Memorial Day flyover features D-Day Squadron aircraft C-53 D-Day Doll of the Commemorative Air Force’s Inland Empire Wing (IEW), leading fellow squadron aircraft C-47 Flabob Express, C-47 Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber and C-53 Spirit of Benovia. Also joining the squadron is C-47 What’s Up Doc of the Palm Springs Air Museum, Condor Squadron’s T-6s. Other WWII-era aircraft will likely join in as well.
“Our mission flying WWII aircraft over parts of Southern California for Memorial Day is to salute our veterans who sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. In addition, we will acknowledge the many medical personnel, first responders, and citizens who have provided unwavering support in caring for the local populace during this pandemic,” shared Steve Rose, IEW wing leader, and pilot of D-Day Doll. “To join again with fellow squadron members is an honor and we appreciate everyone volunteering their time and aircraft to participate in this flight.”
Various targets of the flyover include two national cemeteries, VA medical centers, airports, landmark piers and harbors, the ocean liner Queen Mary and battleship USS Iowa. Lead aircraft, D-Day Doll, plans to bring on board veterans from WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam War. “Our goal is to signal to all Southern Californians to remain vigilant during these adverse times as our Greatest Generation have,” added Steve Rose.
“We are glad to see these crews honor our health care workers and to provide a hopeful reminder that America can overcome the current pandemic, just as those that came before us unified to defeat a dangerous enemy,” shared Kevin Riley, executive director of the D-Day Squadron. “Our organization is proud to see the formation procedures honed by these crews in Normandy on display in the United States for the people of Southern California.”