USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Fighting Falcon
CG-4A-GN 42-46574

434th Troop Carrier Group

Fighting Falcon The original presentation glider
The original presentation glider

A war bond purchase by students and parents of Greenfield Schools in Michigan, the area where Gibson Refrigerator had their factory making the CG Waco glider under license. In April 1943, a total of $72,000 was raised which was enough to buy four gliders. However, only one of them could be named.

The original name chosen for the glider was "Flying Falcon" but this was not considered fierce enough by the manufacturers and it was changed to "Fighting Falcon". It was towed to the football field of the Greenville High School on 19 May 1943 and was christened at ceremony attended by both government and local officials as well as pupils and parents.

Dismantled and packed into 5 crates the glider did not see light of day until a year later when it was re-assembled at the base at Crookham Common, Berkshire, England in preparation for D-Day as the lead glider for 434th Troop Carrier Group. But, 3 days before D-Day it was decided to put a newer glider in the lead with a stronger, modified nose. As a result of all the publicity surrounding the original glider, the replacement was given a quick repaint to carry the title "Fighting Falcon".

The original "Fighting Falcon" landed successfully on 6th June carrying men and equipment of the 101st Airborne Division. The hastily named replacement which took the lead position was smashed to pieces on landing - killing its crew and the General it carried.

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© Ray Bowden 13 August 2022