Famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle called the C-47 “the workingest airplane in
existence… Almost any pilot would tell you it was the best airplane ever built.”
The Douglas C-47 was used as a cargo transport to fly the notorious “Hump” over
the Himalayas after the Japanese closed the Burma Road, and as a paratroop
carrier in various campaigns from New Guinea to Normandy and beyond. Known also
as “Dakota” (British designation), R4D (U.S. Navy), “Skytrooper” and “Gooney
Bird,” the Douglas C-47 (USAAF) went through many modifications during its long
service life, largely with respect to engine power ratings, but also with
structural modifications for specific tasks like reconnaissance and navigation
training. It was even tested as a floatplane and as an engineless glider.
“Like the Higgins Boat, the Sherman tank and the jeep, the C-47 was so important to the success of the war effort that The National WWII Museum would not be complete without it,” noted Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller. “The Hilliards’ generosity enabled us to acquire and restore C-47 #096, a true hero of WWII aviation history.”Dr. Mueller stated “The C-47 is an amazing new acquisition that will be a major attraction for New Orleans residents and all our future visitors.”
C-47 #096 carried Pathfinder paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944; dropped a Pathfinder paratrooper team of the 101st Airborne into German-occupied Holland in Operation Market Garden; flew in a massive re-supply mission to the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge; and participated in Operation Varsity, “the Rhine Jump,” in 1945.
The National D-Day Museum has four interactive galleries which profile America's role in World War II through exhibits featuring electronic maps, mini-theaters, photomurals, text panels and original artifacts that allow visitors to see a piece of D-Day firsthand. Also among the exhibits are nine "Personal Account" or oral history stations where visitors can hear the stories of veterans and home front workers who participated in the war effort. Historically rich artifacts and the stories behind them, donated by veterans and their families. Plenty of aircraft, vehicles, weapons, uniforms, home front materials, and other significant artifacts that the whole family can enjoy, and special educational programs are offered for students of all ages.
The National D-Day Museum opened in 2000, and has been designated by Congress as the country’s official National World War II Museum. It interprets the American experience during the World War II years; celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won WWII; and promotes the expression of these values for future generations. As the National WWII Museum grows it will feature a six-acre campus of Museum exhibition pavilions, an advanced format theater, USO entertainment venue, and education and research center in downtown New Orleans.
By Leroy Worley
Learn more about upcoming events and events at the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans by calling (504) 527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org