ROCK SPRINGS — A plane that briefly stopped in Rock Springs earlier in the week is on its way to Europe.
The Douglas C-41A N341A aircraft is traveling to Normandy as part of festivities honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy. On Sunday evening, it stopped for fuel at Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport.
The plane, which left Oakland, California, on Sunday, was four days behind schedule when it stopped in Sweetwater County. It is slated to fly over Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, England then France, Golden Age Travel Tours public relations person Paul Bittner said.
Attempts to contact Bittner to track the progress of the plane were made since Sunday, but he has not responded as of press time.
From June 2-9, the N341A and more than 30 C-47/DC-3s will meet again like they did 75 years ago and cross the English Channel in mass formation. Then, hundreds of paratroopers will jump into the historic drop zones of Normandy, according to Golden Age Air Tours.
The aircraft, known as the C-41A 40-0070 Hap-Penstance – N341A, is a part of the D-Day squadron from the United States consisting of 15 Douglas C-47 and DC-3 transports. A few others include the C-47A-40DL Skytrain 42-24064 Placid Lassie — N74589; and C-53-DO Skytrooper 42-47371 — Spirit of Benovia — N8336C.
For a list of the rest, go to ddaysquadron.org/the-mighty-fifteen-the-american-contingent-flying-to-normandy.
EMBARKING ON A ‘GREAT CRUSADE’
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.
“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months,” Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said in an order to encourage members of the Allied Expeditionary Force before the invasion. “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere will march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of the Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
“Your task will be not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!”
The re-enactment in June will honor the soldiers who put their lives on the line to bring an end to World War II in Europe.
After the jump in June, there will be a symbolic aid package drops to recreate the “Candy Bombers” who partook in the Berlin airlift that occurred 70 years ago, according to Golden Age Travel Tours.
The airlift assisted residents during the West Berlin blockade. From 1948-49, the Soviet Union blocked off Allied access to their portions of Berlin. In an attempt to provision the city, Allied planes dropped different supplies including candy.
One day, Col. Gail Halvorsen saw a couple of starving Berlin children and others sniffing the gum wrappers early during the airlift. Touched, he told children the next day he would drop them parachutes made of handkerchiefs filled with chewing gum and candy bars in what became known as “Operation Little Vittles,” according to the U.S. Air Force’s Airman Magazine.