Historic Aircraft that Led the D-Day Aerial Invasion of Normandy Returns to Europe for 80th Anniversary Commemoration
San Marcos, TX (June 2, 2023) - The aircraft that led the main airborne invasion of Normandy on D-Day – June 6, 1944 – is returning to Europe to commemorate the 80th anniversary of that momentous occasion.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced that the World War II flying museum plans to take the historic C-47 That’s All, Brother on a European Tour in June 2024 to participate in events honoring the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. The C-47 That’s All, Brother is historically significant to D-Day because it was the lead airplane in the aerial invasion formation of more than 800 Allied aircraft that dropped paratroopers into France on D-Day.
That’s All, Brother will join other historic military aircraft from the U.S., deploying as one American contingent flying from the U.S. to Duxford Airfield in England. Once in Europe, the American fleet will join more aircraft for the Normandy events. Thousands are expected to watch the tour's progress as these aircraft fly together over the North Atlantic and eventually over the beaches of France. This historic commemoration will include several days of displays and educational opportunities for the public in select European cities to honor all veterans of the Allied forces who participated in D-Day.
The CAF participated in the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019 and is honored to return. “Although it was a tremendous amount of work to bring our aircraft to Europe, it was well worth the effort, and we hoped we would have the opportunity again,” said CAF President/CEO Hank Coates. “Flying and exhibiting our aircraft in Europe is special. Unlike being on tour in the U.S., the people of Europe had the war in their backyards. The invasion of Normandy was a sign of hope and salvation for so many.”
The C-47 That’s All, Brother is regularly based at the Commemorative Air Force’s Central Texas Wing in San Marcos, Texas, where a dedicated group of volunteers maintains, flies, and exhibits the aircraft at airshows and events nationwide. “ That’s All, Brother is one of the world's most historically accurate C-47 restorations,” said CAF volunteer and aircrewman Andy Maag. “It is our honor to return to Europe with such an authentic piece of history, to pay tribute to those who participated in D-Day and remind the generations that followed how important this event was in history.”
That’s All, Brother’s mission to Normandy will be carried out by volunteers coordinating the logistics, offering ground support, and crewing the aircraft throughout the tour. This tremendous undertaking is expected to cost over $300,000 to cover the expenses of traveling to Europe and ensuring the aircraft is outfitted with the right equipment for the month-long tour. Those interested in learning more about the Normandy D-Day 80 Tour and contributing can visit www.ThatsAllBrother.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (737) 270-9950.
Cover photo by Mike Killian
Check out this video from the last mission to Normandy in 2019.
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