Two C-47 aircraft will participate in a flyover to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day as part of the events scheduled on June 6 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
On June 6, 1944, D-Day – the largest amphibious assault in history – took place as more than 150,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coast. This risky invasion of France’s Normandy region caused over 4,000 Allied casualties on the first day alone. Code-named Operation Overlord, the Normandy campaign led to the liberation of France and the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.
The flyover will take place during a wreath laying ceremony in the museum’s Memorial Park at 10 a.m. with the C-47 “Sky King” from the Mid America Flight Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, which successfully dropped 18 paratroopers during the D-Day invasion; and a C-47A from Vintage Wings in Terre Haute, Indiana, whose primary mission was transporting cargo and paratroopers.
Reenactors representing the 101st Airborne Division will be in attendance during the ceremony and a variety of WWII-era military vehicles will be on display including four Willys Jeeps, two Dodge Command Cars, an M2 Halftrack, and a GMC 6x6 truck.
At noon and 4 pm, the film “D-Day Normandy 1944” will be shown in the Air Force Museum Theatre. Ticket information is available at: www.afmuseum.com/movietimes.
From 12:15-5 p.m., visitors in the museum’s WWII Gallery are invited to interact with the 101st Airborne Division reenactors, check-out rarely seen D-Day artifacts and archival materials from the museum’s Collections and Research Divisions and can test their knowledge as the museum’s Education Division hosts D-Day trivia.
At 6:30 p.m., a sneak-peek screening of the documentary film “Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day,” will be offered by the Air Force Museum Foundation as part of their Living History Series in the Air Force Museum Theatre. The film portrays the experiences of WWII veterans returning to Normandy for a final pilgrimage during the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. “Sunken Roads” paints an intimate portrait of these soldiers and explores the memory, trauma, and the human impulse to commemorate. Ticket information for this event is available at https://www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory.
The museum’s newest augmented reality exhibit, “D-Day: Freedom from Above,” which focuses on the D-Day missions of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, will continue to be available through the end of the year. The exhibit allows visitors to experience the reality of the D-Day airborne invasion with an immersive, interactive augmented reality tablet utilizing the innovative technology “HistoPad.”
With these tablets visitors are able to manipulate a series of 3D virtual relics, view unpublished photographs and extracts of archival films, interact with animated maps, and learn the incredible destinies of some of our nation’s D-Day heroes. The tablets are available to rent through the Air Force Museum Foundation for a fee of $5.
Museum visitors can currently view a C-47 painted with large black and white invasion stripes like those used to transport paratroopers and tow gliders on D-Day; a CG-4 glider like those towed behind C-47s and released to land troops and equipment; and a selection of special uniforms and equipment used by paratroopers in the WWII Gallery. Additional content has also been added to further explain the U.S. Army Air Forces’ involvement during D-Day.
According to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Curator Jeff Duford, we enjoy a better life today because of the service and sacrifice of D-Day veterans who dominated the skies, parachuted into hedgerows, and stormed the beaches in France.
“The successful Normandy invasion marked the beginning of the end of the brutal Nazi regime and the war in Europe, and we are the beneficiaries of their monumental and costly achievement,” said Duford. “We have an obligation to take a moment out of our busy lives to remember what they did, and you can do that by coming to the commemoration events at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on June 6, experiencing our new limited-time augmented reality D-Day exhibit through the end of the year, or by visiting our permanent D-Day exhibit in the WWII Gallery.”
For additional information on the museum’s D-Day events and exhibit, including complete schedule information visit https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Upcoming/Events/D-Day-75th-Anniversary/.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.