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DC-3 Society Member Spotlight - Stephen Peter Pedone, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret. (Steve)

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Stephen Pedone, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.

My love for the DC-3/C-47 comes directly from my dad and mom’s WWII service. My

dad, Captain Vito Pedone, USAAF, was a combat experienced A-20 ground-attack pilot

flying in 1942 from the UK to attack Nazi targets on the mainland. He transferred to the

newly formed 9th Air Force C-47 Troop Carrier Pathfinder Unit stationed at North Witham

Airfield, England, to train and prepare the twenty Pathfinder C-47 pilots & crews, and

over three-hundred Pathfinder Paratroopers of the 101st 82nd Airborne Divisions, in

preparation for the Normandy D-Day Airborne Invasion. On the evening of 5 June

1944, my dad was the co-pilot of the lead Pathfinder C-47, tail number 293098, which

led the airborne invasion and dropped the first Pathfinders Paratroopers into Normandy.

My mother, Jerry Curtis-Pedone, a surgical nurse, graduated from the first class of Army

Air Force Flight Nurses, and flew in a C-47 into the Normandy beachhead on 10 June,

to air medical evacuate and keep alive fourteen severely wounded soldiers on

stretchers hung from straps of the C-47, back to awaiting hospitals in England. Then

climb aboard another C-47, do it again, and again!

I followed in my parent’s footsteps, serving as a U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer for

twenty-five years. My family has extensive active military service from 1915 to 1990,

since my grandfather fought in WWI front-line combat, in France, with the 28th Division.

My wife and I attended the 2019 75th D-Day Anniversary on a tour with family and

friends of the Miss Montana C-47 and the D-Day Squadron. I was fortunate to fly in the

Miss Montana C-47 over the Normandy beaches and drop zones, which was a very

moving moment for me personally, imagining what my parents must have experience in

June 1944, in combat and in harm’s way.

I am an active member of the AFA, CAF, the National Pathfinder Association, and I have

participated in D-Day Squadron/DC-3 Society activities since 2018. My 2019 article

about my dad and mom’s service, titled “The D-Day Pilot and Flight Nurse” has been on

the D-Day Squadron website. I am currently writing a book with the same title for

publication next year for the 80th D-Day Anniversary. The C-47 is at the core of their

story, and at the core of my heart. I look forward to the D-Day Squadron’s return to

Normandy in 2024 for the 80th Anniversary! I greatly appreciate the goals and

dedication of the DC-3 Society and the D-Day Squadron. “Keep them flying!” Stephen Peter Pedone, Lt. Col., USAF, Ret. (Steve)

P.O. Box 1306, Naples, FL 34106

Stephen Standing In front of a DC-3

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