After the successful mission in 2019, the D-Day Squadron – the American contingent of Douglas C-47 and DC-3 transports participating in the celebrations of D-Day and the Berlin Airlift – is preparing to embark upon their journey to Europe to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasions and 75th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. On May 18, 2024, the D-Day Squadron is expected to depart Oxford-Waterbury Airport in Connecticut and head East to cross the Northern Atlantic along the original Blue Spruce route.
The list of airplanes taking part is changing regularly, as is understandable when juggling such a monumental challenge. Some teams are working to get their aircraft ready to take part, but the complexity of the mission, the logistical challenges, and the enormous costs involved inevitably will keep their participation on hold until months shy of the launch. However, given the difficult socio-economical times we currently live in, the D-Day Squadron is excited to announce that ten historic aircraft will make the journey in 2024. With multiple aircraft still working to prepare, the D-Day Squadron is expected to roll out a second phase of announcements, featuring nearly a dozen historic aircraft involved in the mission. Today’s airplanes announced will be joined by at least three European-based C-47s coming from France, Finland, and Sweden.
“We’re excited to join the D-Day Squadron to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord. As a U.S. Naval aircraft, READY-4-DUTY and her crew are honored to represent the contributions of the U.S. Navy at this historic event,” shared Chris Volpe, Wing Leader, DFW Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. “This will be our first flight mission with the squadron, a great salute to the Greatest Generation who came before us.”
The mission behind the D-Day Squadron’s 2024 Legacy Tour is assembling a collective of international operators of WWII-era aircraft, specifically the DC-3/C-47 type, to honor, pay tribute and commemorate the legacy of the WWII veterans, the Greatest Generation, through Europe. With a focus on both DDay80 and Berlin75, the 2024 Legacy Tour symbolizes a special salute to those who served, sacrificed, and gave so much to our great nations
“Having led the DC-3’s journey to Europe in 2019, the D-Day Squadron earned a global presence that’s provided our organization to grow, multiply our DC-3 connections and even launch the DC-3 Society where we actively aid operators, crews, and enthusiasts with maintenance, operations, airworthiness, and displays,” shared Eric Zipkin, director of operations and mission chief pilot for the D-Day Squadron. “We won the War because of our logistical abilities, it’s only appropriate we, as the stewards of this noble aircraft, continue to fly and maintain the very airframe that was the backbone to achieving victory.”
The aircraft which confirmed their participation as of November 10th commemorating Veterans and Remembrance Day are:
- C-47 “Placid Lassie” ( N74589) – Tunison Foundation – USA
- C-47 “That’s All, Brother” ( N47TB) – Commemorative Air Force Centex Wing – USA
- C-47 “ Screaming Eagle” (N150D) – Private Owner – USA
- R4D “ Ready 4 Duty” (151ZE) – Commemorative Air Force Dallas – Ft. Worth Wing – USA
- C-53 “Spirit of Benovia” (N8336C) – Aerometal International – USA
- C-41A “ Hap*penstance” (N341A) – The RM Group, LLC- USA
- DC-3 “Chalair” (F-AZOX) – Private Owner – France
- C-47 “Night Fright” (N308SF) – Night Fright Promotions Ltd – UK
- C-47 “Drag ‘em Oot” (N473DC) – Aero Legends – UK
- C-47 “Pegasus” (G-ANAF) – Aero Legends – UK
In the coming months, special features will be published across the D-Day Squadron’s social media channels on each historic aircraft, their web pages, and more detailed information on aircrews. The D-Day Squadron has plans to announce more aircraft soon, as they continue the 2024 Legacy Tour mission preparations through the end of 2023, and into 2024.