A Day in History: “That’s All, Brother” Flies Again
It was just after midnight on June 6, 1944, when a formation of more than 400 aircraft flew through heavy German fire and dropped over 6,600 paratroopers behind enemy lines on Normandy. One of these planes, “That’s All, Brother” led this effort, resulting in the liberation of France. The plane, piloted by Col. John M. Donalson, had 15 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division onboard. Among those on that victorious flight were a chaplain and a small puppy. Emerging from flying two missions on D-Day with very little damage, the name of the plane was meant to be a message to Hitler, that his plans were done.
Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Staff Sgt. Matt Scales and another historian were researching a story about Donalson, and how, with only a few weeks before “That’s All, Brother” was to be torn apart, they tracked down this plane. Like many planes from World War II, “That’s All, Brother” was sold for private use after the war. Throughout the years it was sold several times. Until a few years ago, the twin-engine C-47 was in an aircraft boneyard, completely forgotten. Then in 2007, Scales and his colleague used their research skills to trace the tail number and determined the plane had not yet been dismantled. He then contacted the current owner in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and shared what he knew about the history of the aircraft.
The historic significance of the plane generated publicity, which was spotted by Commemorative Air Force, an organization that restores historical aircraft. Once the organization determined the plane was, in fact, “That’s All, Brother” and that it was intact, Commemorative Air Force began restoration of the plane.
After more than 22,000 hours of restoration, “That’s All, Brother” recently had a successful test run. The plane’s final phase of restoration was focusing on her details, so she closely resembles her appearance back in 1944. The team is now working toward its final goal – to fly over Normandy on its 75th Anniversary in 2019.
Veterans Commemoratives honors our Veterans from World War II and every war and military action since, to protect our country and our allies. Since 1987 we have been proud to offer unique Service rings, watches and jackets featuring their official War Medals and Ribbons, Service and Career Emblems & Insignia. Thank you all for your Service to Country.
Photo Credit: avweb.com
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