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Assigned to pilot Pete Reed and co-pilot Burwell Buchanan this C-47 took part in the D-Day airborne assault, the invasi0on of Southern France as well as Operation Market-Garden (17th September 1944) and the Rhine crossing in March 1945. Used for paratroop dropping and glider tows "Arkansas Traveler" survived hostilities and soldiered on until at least 1952. The left side of the nose carried a different cartoon artwork featuring the title "Off we go into the Wild Blue Yonder".
Arriving at Membury, England on 5th March 1944 it was based at Bottesford until 25th February 1945. During the resupply missions to Bastogne on Christmas Eve "Arkansas Traveler" was hit by flak. It was moved to Melun-Villaroche (A-55) in France in readiness for the Rhine assault at Wesel, Germany.
Pete Reed is shown as flying 42-100670 on the initial D-Day flight, parachuting elements of 377th Field Artillery Battalion and a detachment of the 326th Medical Company. Flak shattered the pilot's side window and smashed the radio on that occasion. Over Holland during the Market-Garden operation flak and bullets once again caught the plane and shattered the plexi glass observation dome just forward of the windshield.
Unfortunately, on 3rd April 45 Reed is shown as suffering a taxi accident in #670 when a P47, probably from 405FG, ran into its tail assembly but it seems the plane was repaired and was still flying in 1952 when it suffered another accident while at Peterson AFB, CO. It is believed that it continued on in service until crashing in 1961. Pete Reed however was killed after the war while flying with the Flying Tigers Cargo Service.
No mission listing is currently available for this aircraft
© Ray Bowden 21 January 2020