D-Day Remembrance in San Marcos Features Aircraft That Led Airborne Drops

posted by 1200 WOAI -

By Morgan Montalvo 

WOAI News 

Today's mid-morning D-Day 74th Anniversary remembrance ceremony in San  Marcos includes the first Allied aircraft to drop paratroopers over  Nazi-occupied France as the June 6, 1944 invasion unfolded.

That's All Brother was the wartime nickname given to the  twin-engine Douglas C-47 "Skytrain" rescued from an aircraft boneyard  and restored to flyable, near-original condition that includes World War  Two paint, invasion markings and decorative christening. 

The plane will  be operated and maintained by the San Marcos-based Cen-Tex Wing of the  Commemorative Air Force, an international aviation heritage  organization. 

"There are a lot of planes that are in museums and statically displayed  but, in terms of flying aircraft, this is probably one of the top five  in the world," says Cen-Tex Wing Leader Joe Enzminger. 

That's All Brother will serve as the focal point for today's 10  a.m. D-Day commemoration and salute to area veterans in the unit's  hangar at San Marcos Regional Airport, just east of the city. The event  is free and open to the public.

 Enzminger says the aircraft is, like the troops who stormed Normandy in  1944, fought across Western Europe, defeated Germany and returned home  alive, a survivor with stories to tell. 

“While it’s an airplane,” he says, “That’s All Brother is a D-Day veteran and, like many veterans, when it was very young it went through a tremendously challenging experience.” 

Restoration of the C-47 was a multi-year cooperative undertaking between  the CAF and corporate sponsors at a cost approaching $3 million.  

Enzminger says the CAF has big plans for That's All Brother in 2019. 

"We're going to be taking a 75-year-old airplane across the Atlantic  Ocean starting in May of next year, recreating the flight over the  English Channel on June Sixth, and touring Europe for three or four  weeks.  Why that's important is, the 75th anniversary will be quite possibly  one of the last when living D-Day veterans will actually be able to be  there," says Enzminger. 

Three CAF C-47s will fly to Europe in 2019, 

"because it's not just about  the lead aircraft - it's about all of the airplanes and all of the  people that participated in those missions," Enzminger says. 

PHOTO COURTESY: COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE.

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