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World War Two aircraft takes flight over Phoenix on 75th anniversary of D-Day

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 21:10:27-04

PHOENIX — On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, people in Arizona may have noticed a C-47 Dakota in the sky today.

That aircraft made a commemorative flight over the Arizona State Capital Thursday morning and also sat proudly on display at Falcon Field in Mesa.

Today, there's only a couple hundred left, but on this day 75 years ago, 832 of them were in the sky over the beaches of Normandy.

"Not only were there C-47's flying but thousands of bombers, fighters, and all kinds of other aircraft that all had to be in the air at the same time," said Chris Allen, lead crew chief on the C-47.

The C-47's main responsibility on D-Day was to drop troops, serving as the aircraft that paratroopers jumped out of along with towing gliders and dropping cargo, supplies, even Jeeps to support soldiers on the ground.

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the C-47 Dakota is one of the more popular ones at the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona. Something very memorable to those who fly or work on the C-47 now.

"To see the veterans and the look on their faces and you can tell, and you can see it in their eyes, that they go back in time and it's all happening for them again, and it's a really special thing to be able to do," said Allen.

Chris Schaich pilots the C-47, B-17, and B-25 for the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona.

"The men that were sitting here in the '40s when they were in operation, they looked through these same windows, this was their office, and I share that with them. So it's in the back of my head all the time," Schaich said.