On June 6, 2024, personnel from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, dismantled a Douglas C-47 Skytrain (43-15200), a World War II veteran, at the Museum of Alaska Transportation in Wasilla, Alaska, getting it ready for transportation to the Museum of Aviation at Robins. The relocation ensures the preservation of an important piece of U.S. Air Force history, intended for all Americans, including both military personnel and civilians.

According to U.S. Air Force Capt. Nick Schiavone, commander of the 709th Airlift Squadron, the opportunity to participate in moving an aircraft involved in the Normandy landings has been exceptional. The Skytrain, bearing tail number 43-15200, holds significant historical value as it took part in three pivotal airborne operations during World War II.

Initially deployed in Operation Overlord, it dropped soldiers from C Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during the Normandy assault on June 5-6, 1944. Subsequently, it played a crucial role in the airborne resupply of Bastogne, bolstering Allied defenses against the German Ardennes offensive, and Operation Varsity, contributing to the largest single-day airborne invasion as U.S., Canadian, and United Kingdom forces crossed the Rhine into northern Germany.

Arthur Sullivan, curator at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, underscores the external significance of restoring this aircraft for public viewing, emphasizing its role in Air Force heritage and history. Internally, it serves as a tribute to the airmen and soldiers who operated it during World War II.

Commissioned in 1944 by the United States Army Air Forces, the Skytrain served in the European Theater of Operations until June 1946, after which it returned to the continental U.S. It later saw service in the 99th Troop Carrier Squadron, 441st Troop Carrier Group, IX Troop Carrier Command, 9th Air Force, and subsequently in the New York and Alaska National Guard before its retirement in 1960.

Following its active duty, the C-47 was part of the National Museum of the United States Air Force Loan Program at Wright Field, Ohio, and was exhibited at Kulis Air National Guard Base in Anchorage before being relocated to Wasilla in the early 1980s.

James Grogan, executive director for the Museum of Alaska Transportation, reflects on the many years the C-47 has been in their possession and anticipates its full restoration, viewing it as essential in preserving this historical artifact for future remembrance.