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The Mighty Fifteen - The American Contingent Flying to Normandy

After almost 18 months of planning, fundraising and training, the D-Day Squadron, the American contingent of Douglas C-47 and DC-3 transports participating in Daks over Normandy, is about to embark on their journey to Europe to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On May 19th, the D-Day Squadron will depart Oxford-Waterbury airport in Connecticut and head East to cross the Atlantic along the original Blue Spruce route. There will be a full week of activities to kick off this event, including a special Squadron flyover of the Statue of Liberty. All the details can be found HERE.

The list of airplanes taking part is changing regularly, as is understandable when juggling such a monumental challenge. Some teams tried until last minute to get their aircraft ready to take part, but the complexity of the mission, the logistical challenges and the enormous costs involved inevitably took a toll with some having to cancel their participation. The following is the ONLY OFFICIAL list approved by the D-Day Squadron at this time marking which aircraft will participate.... as they like to call it...The Mighty Fifteen!

1- C-47A-40-DL Skytrain 42-24064 - Placid Lassie - N74589 - Lead Aircraft

Placid Lassie was built at Douglas Aircraft’s plant in Long Beach, California and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in early 1943. They assigned her to the 74th Squadron, 434th Troop Carrier Group of IX Troop Carrier Command in England in preparation for D-Day.

On that fateful day, June 6, 1944, Placid Lassie, along with 832 other C-47s towed WACO CG-4A and AirCo Hadrian cargo gliders and dropped more than 24,000 paratroopers over Normandy. Thereafter, Placid Lassie participated in additional WWII combat engagements including: Operation MARKET GARDEN in the Netherlands (September 17- 25 1944), Operation REPULSE – the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge (December 23-25, 1944), Operation VARSITY (March 23, 1945).

Like many of her brethren following WWII, the aircraft went through a number of civilian owners, plying her trade as a cargo plane. This historic C-47 is now owned and operated by the Tunison Foundation ,a nonprofit organization. Placid Lassie is still equipped to drop paratroopers and she carries her original wartime name. Lassie and her crew appear at aviation events across the United States each year, including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Charitable gifts to the foundation keep this aircraft flying as a living-history tribute to the greatest generation. For more information visit,

2 - C-53-DO Skytrooper 42-47371 - Spirit of Benovia - N8336C

Spirit of Benovia, was built at Douglas Aircraft’s plant in Santa Monica, California and accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces on June 29th, 1942. The C-53 was primarily designed to drop paratroopers and tow gliders, and differs from the C-47 in having a lighter strength floor and no double cargo door. She flew out to Karachi, India (now Pakistan) in August, 1942, initially for service with the Royal Air Force as serial FJ712, but transferred to the 1st Troop Carrier Squadron, 10th Air Force, USAAF in late December, 1942, serving the rest of the war in the CBI Theatre. She went into civilian ownership in India, then China right after WWII, being owned for a while by General Claire Chennault, reportedly flying Chiang Kai-shek in the Civil Air Transport company out of Taipei, Formosa (now Taiwan). During the mid-50s, the aircraft received a luxurious VIP interior and an AiResearch Maximizer speed kit. She passed through several other owners over the years, including the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum during the 1980s. The aircraft is currently owned and lovingly cared for by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, owners of Benovia Winery in California. For more information visit

3 - C-53-DO Skytrooper 42-68830 - D-Day Doll - N45366

D-Day Doll was built at Douglas Aircraft’s plant in Santa Monica, California in July 1943 and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps soon afterwards. She was assigned to the 434th Troop Carrier Group, 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron at RAF Aldermaston, England, and is a veteran of Operations Overlord (D-Day, Normandy France), Market Garden (Holland), Repulse (Bastogne, Belgium) and Varsity (the crossing of the Rhine, Germany). The aircraft had many civilian owners as an airliner and cargo transport following WWII. She has been owned by the Commemorative Air Force since 2001, and flies regularly at air shows in the western US with the CAF’s Inland Empire Wing from their home in Riverside, California. For more information visit

4 - C-47-DL Skytrain 42-32833 - Legend Airways ‘Liberty’ - N25641

Legend Airways ‘Liberty’ was built at Douglas Aircraft’s factory in Long Beach, California, rolling off the assembly line on February 11th, 1943. Initially, she was stationed in Oran, Algeria during the North Africa Campaign, arriving on August 17th, 1943. By June 6th, 1944 Liberty was based at RAF Barkston Heath, England, with the 61st Troop Carrier Group. As Chalk #21, with Capt. Lyon in command, she flew on Serial 24 of Operation Overlord and dr