LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - She is a veteran of the Normandy Invasion in France, Market Garden in Holland, the Siege of Bastogne and crossing the Rhine into Germany. The historic D-Day Doll, a C-53D Skytrooper, dropped paratroopers, towed gliders, flew supplies and evacuated wounded during the biggest, most deadly war in history. The aircraft flew three missions into France on D-Day and is now on its way back to Normandy by way of Louisville for the 75th anniversary.
The seven-week, 12,000-mile flight will cross the US, the Atlantic and traverse nine countries. The Skytrooper will be joined by other historic World War II aircraft to re-enact and commemorate her finest hour in the events of June 1944. The flight is expected to cost at least $300,000 to fly the historic aircraft to Europe.
Before making the flight across the pond it will make several stops to honor the Veterans of The Greatest Generation and one of those stops will be at Louisville's historic Bowman Field, the oldest continually operating commercial airfield in North America.
During World War II, Bowman Field was the busiest airport in the country. After a $1 million investment, the airfield constructed barracks and other facilities, including nine mess halls. Thousands of members of the military called Bowman Field and Louisville their temporary home while undergoing combat readiness training.
John O’Neil, Commemorative Air Force Coordinator for the D-Day Doll visit, boast that Bowman Field was one of the nation’s most important training bases and one of the nation’s busiest airports. O’Neil has not been able to find proof, but he believes at some point in its history it’s likely D-Day Doll would have been one of the many aircrafts at Bowman Field at one time or another.
During its Bowman Field visit on Saturday, May 11, D-Day Doll will give rides to veterans through the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. Each ride cost $200. There will be three separate flights with takeoffs at 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m.
The Commemorative Air Force committee members are asking for donations from WAVE Country businesses and community members to cover the cost of any veteran hoping to take the historic flight on the D-Day Doll. The group is also looking to help cover fuel for the flight to Europe.
To sponsor a trip or to make a donation, click here.