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CAF Inland Empire Wing Hosts 80th Birthday Bash for C-53 "D-Day Doll"

Riverside, California (May 12, 2023) - The CAF Inland Empire Wing is hosting a birthday celebration for the C-53 D-Day Doll to highlight the rich history of the aircraft.

There were only 159 C-53 Skytrain D Models built, D-Day Doll was number 139. This aircraft was built at the Douglas Aircraft Company Plant in Santa Monica, California. She was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force in July 1943. She was assigned to the 434th Troop Carrier Group (TCG) and stationed at various locations before arriving at Royal Air Force (RAF) Aldermaston, UK in March 1944. There she was designated “Aircraft 830.”

The 434th TCG's D-Day mission was to tow gliders carrying reinforcements to 101st Division troops who had been dropped earlier in the night near Utah Beach. At 0119, June 6, 1944, 52 of the Group's airplanes, each towing a Waco glider, took off from RAF Aldermaston Airfield for Normandy. Aircraft 830/ D-Day Doll flew three missions on D-Day and the next day.

While in the European Theater, in addition to the invasion of Normandy, D-Day Doll participated in Operation Market Garden in Holland, the re-supply of Bastogne, and the crossing of the Rhine.

The CAF Inland Empire Wing will host D-Day Doll’s Birthday Bash on July 8, 2023.

When: July 8, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: CAF Inland Empire Wing at Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California

Who: Bring the whole family, fly in, or drive your hot-rod

To purchase warbird rides at this event, click here.

In addition to celebrating the history and operation of the aircraft, the Inland Empire Wing has embarked on a project to honor those who have served in the US military. A commemoration plaque is under development and will contain 80 plates for each of the 80 names appearing on the plaque. Each name submitted by an Inland Empire Wing member or other source will recognize a family, friend, neighbor or notable individual who served. Accompanying the name will be their military branch, event and any notable mission or condition the individual experienced (ie; POW, MIA, KIA).

The plaque made from Acrylic will be 36.5x31 inches and displayed during the 80th Birthday celebration for D-Day Doll. Thus far 25 registered plates have been received. It is hoped more plates will be submitted and mounted for the upcoming celebration on July 8, Once completed the plaque will be mounted and displayed at the CAF-IEW museum at Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California.

The CAF-IEW extends an invitation to any and all CAF members to recognize family, friends or neighbors and add their names to the plaque in order for it to be displayed at the July 8 event.

To download the donation form click here.

Check out this video of D-Day Doll taking a World War II paratrooper for a jump on his 100th birthday.

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