by Kim Pardon
Commemorative Air Force
Doug Rozendaal, Mason City businessman and Clear Lake resident, is marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in a unique way.
Rozendaal has embarked on a transatlantic flight from Connecticut to Duxford, England in the recently restored C-47, That’s All…Brother. The airplane is traveling to Europe for the D-Day invasion anniversary, where it will take part with 26 other transports in a paratrooper drop over Normandy, France. The airplane will travel from there to Germany, where it will commemorate the Berlin airlift before returning to France to participate in the Paris Air Show. Rozendaal will be at the controls for most of the journey.
“This particular C-47 was the lead aircraft in the D-Day invasion,” Rozendaal states. “There were other C-47s launched the day before for pathfinder missions, but when the actual invasion began, this very airplane was the first one launched – loaded with paratroopers who jumped into France in the dark and fog, and an unknown fate, during the early morning hours of June 6.”
The C-47 That’s All…Brother was found three years ago in an aircraft “boneyard” at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wis. Once discovered, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) moved swiftly to purchase the aircraft and raised over $3 million to have it meticulously restored to its original specifications.
“The airplane is essentially brand new,” says Rozendaal. “It had been sitting in the Wisconsin weather for several years and was in pretty sad shape. If the CAF had not purchased the airplane it would have very likely been scrapped – lost to history.”
In addition to the Normandy invasion, the airplane participated in Operation Market Garden during World War II and the Berlin Airlift from June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949.
Rozendaal is a longtime pilot whose hobby is flying vintage military aircraft. He is certified in numerous aircraft typesTo read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition