Almost lost to history in a boneyard, the C-47 plane "That's All, Brother" will lead the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
About 75 years ago, a C-47 military transport plane dubbed "That's All, Brother" was selected to lead hundreds of planes carrying thousands of paratroopers from the airfields of England to the beaches of Normandy, France. It was chosen because of the sophisticated radar installed in its cockpit, which helped the pilot navigate the English channel.
That historic plane would have been lost to history were it not rescued from a boneyard in Oshkosh just days before the plane was scheduled to be turned into a freight hauler. Now "That's All, Brother" will lead the way again, this time flying across the Channel in commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
"That's All, Brother" will be part of D-Day Squadron, comprised of over a dozen American planes flown and maintained by volunteers. The flyover will recreate the paratrooper landings, complete with parachutists dressed as soldiers from the 101st and 82nd Airborne.
The plane has passed through a number of private owners since it saw action in World War II. The New York Times explains that two historians from Alabama and the Commemorative Air Force bought “That’s All, Brother” in 2015 and restored it to its former glory with help from technicians from Basler Turbo Conversions. The historic plane even got a few upgrades, now sporting even more sophisticated navigation equipment than it did the night of June 5, 1944.
There will be a total of 15 American aircraft are participating in the D-Day commemorations. They include other C-47s, some DC-3s, and a C-53. Alongside the nose art, the planes will have names such as "Placid Lassie," "D-Day Doll," "Betsy's Biscuit Bomber," and "Miss Montana."
It’s said that the nickname "That's All, Brother" was meant as a message to Adolf Hitler.
The pilot in command for the test flight for “That’s All, Brother,” Doug Rozendaal, said in a video that every C-47 is unique. “It’s not really an airplane — it’s kind of a person, and you come to know each one,” he said in a video recorded before the flight.
More changes are in store for “That’s All, Brother” after the commemorative flight. As the plane moves into the next phase of its restoration, it’ll be moved to the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, in San Marcos, Texas.