The first U.S. C-47 aircraft (and its crew) to drop Pathfinder Paratroopers on D-day eve in World War II.
England Date:1944, June 5 Duration:4 min 15 sec Sound:NO SOUND
U.S. Army Air Forces C-47aircraft , number 42-93098, of the 9th Troop Carrier Command Pathfinder Group, and its crew. This is the first aircraft and crew to drop American paratroopers (pathfinders) over France during the Allied invasion, in World War 2. The aircraft taxis. Crew of the aircraft are seen in front of it, including pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Crouch, Copilot, Captain Vito Pedone, Navigator, Captain William Culp, Radio Operator, Harold Coonrod, along with two crew chiefs. Crew members shake hands and board the aircraft. Colonel Crouch waves from the cockpit of the C-47 (but has not started engines). Major J.L. Sweetman boards another aircraft. Colonel Crouche's C-47 taxis to where the Pathfinders will load up. View of Control Tower at RAF North Witham, with ambulance parked outside it. Three hours before takeoff.Colonel Crouch, is seen on a path near the airfield, with a Pathfinder Captain and Lieutenant, who will be aboard his aircraft and be the first to jump into France. They kid around. The Pathfinder officers note that Colonel Crouch wears paratroop wings. Later, two Pathfinders, of the 101st Airborne Division , with camouflaged faces and American flag insignia on their right shoulders, step from woods and pose momentarily. Pathfinder Paratroopers line up to board C-47 aircraft as Lt. Col. Crouch rides a scooter at the airfield. Aircrews and Pathfinders pose for photographs before taking off. The lead aircraft, number 42-93098, with Lieutenant Colonel Crouch at the controls, takes off from RAF Station North Witham at 9:54 PM, on June 5, 1944. to begin the invasion of France. (Note: This C-47 was shot down on September 18, 1944, during Operation Market Garden, and crash landed on Haamstede Airbase, Netherlands. Although shot at by German troops on the ground, pilot, Maj Joseph A. Beck, and Navigator Lt. Vincent J. Paterno, survived as prisoners of war. Copilot Capt Fred O. Lorimer and another crew member were fatally shot.)
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