Troop Carrier D-Day Flights

by Lew Johnston

This story is from a firsthand account. It is not copyrighted unless noted but we request anyone using this for other than personal use to credit the author and the museum.
Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’m in the process of putting together information for our family about Wilfred E Meinzen who I believe may have been a Pathfinder pilot in the D-day operation. It states that only 20 C-47’s served as Pathfinders. Can anyone confirm that Wilfred E Meinzen was one of the pilots of these C-47’s? He passed away about five or six years ago. He never talked much about his wartime experience. He was from Cincinnati, OH and is my wife’s Grandpa (a super guy to say the least). Thanks for any help! Jeff Strottman-

What an awesome visual you have written. Thank you.
I am in the process of writing about my uncle who was in the Glider Division, a radiomen, in the 101st Airborne, 82nd Division. I have over 100 letters he wrote to my grandmother during WWII, and am always looking for connections to what Uncle Ted wrote about. Of cousre he couldn’t say much in his letters due to censoring.
Any information about how/what/where he carried out his duties would be very much appreciated.

Thanks for all who are responsible for this website and information. My late father, Ret. USAF Colonel Carl B. Fisher, was a captain with Sig. Corp; USAAF; RAF and was a member of the ‘Pathfinders’ where he experienced D-Day Minus One and D-Day 1944. He was in command of navigation point ‘Hoboken’ off the Channel Islands onboard a Royal Navy ship. He and his crew (not sure how many men possibly 12) were detected and shelled by German Navy vessel after turning ‘Pathfinder’ Serials towards Normandy and was only survivor from his boat. If anyone has any information about this ‘Pathfinder’ volunteer mission please contact me at Thank you to all our brave veterans!

Whilst much has been said and written about the actual invasion force and supporting fighters and bombers. Little to none has been said about the brave U.S. 8th Air Force guys from Chelveston, Harrington and Cheddington, who flew both B-17 and B-24s and which were the first aircraft to cross the channel. They provided Electronic Counter Measures and Radio Counter Measures (jamming) protection to the following invasion aircraft. They also dropped leaflets to warn the French public just prior to the D Day invasion.

My father, Larry Camp, was a C47 pilot in WWII. He was with the 79th troop carrier squadron of the 436th troop carrier group. He passed away in 2003. My mother and I attended the group’s reunion in Dover in 2004. Since then, my mother has also passed away. If anyone has information on his group, I’d be grateful. Note, I have read the “Green Light”…. I am in the process of putting together information for grandchildren.
Many Thanks….
Kathryn Camp

All I can say is… BRAVO…. BRAVO…
This is Fantastic.
Thank you

> Carmello Bucca was the husband of of my wife’s aunt. I have a newspaper
> article wherein he recounts his D day experience with the 82nd. I also
> have a recollection of a personal conversation which is consistent with
> the article. However my recollection was that he said he was in the
> 504th which I remember in particular because I served in the 504th in
> 1965-67. There seems to be an inconsistency with his recollection and the 504th
> history as I have been able to determine it. He did tell me that he did not go to jump school having been trained to enter combat in a glider. Normandy was his first and last jump. The archivist at the 82nd told me he had heard of last minute strap hangers that were transferred and jumped in the initial assault. Everything about Carmello’s story checks out including his two woundings. Anybody heard of these last minute stap hangers?

My Dad, James Richter was a Radio Operator in Headquarters Squadron of the 50th Troop Carrier wing during WWII.

Looking for information about my fathers service. All I know is he was a Sgt. With airborne troop carriers. He was In the EAMET and was involved in Normandy, Northetn France, and Ardennes and he was awarded a Good Conduct. His discharge card says Lee A. Farmer Sergeant 4119 Army Air Forces Base Unit discharge Maxwell Field, Ala. December 8, 1945.

If anyone has any leads I can follow to learn more about his service. I would appreciate it.

To all/any concerned: If you already have this information, disregard. On 29 March 1943 in Camden, SC the first US Army (Large Scale) Mass Parachute Drop occurred on the site of the then DuPont Factory. The 505th PIR dropped on this day. The 504th PIR was scheduled to drop the next day near Myrtle Beach (Myrtle Beach AFB) but their drop was cancelled due to inclement weather off the Atlantic. Troop Carrier Groups from NC conducted the drops. There is a Monument to the 82d Abn Div adjacent to Highway US 1 on the site of the drop in Camden. My club (WWII C-47 Club) conducts an annual commemoration at this Location. I am attempting to locate any C-47 Aircraft that might be able to conduct a Brief Fly-Over of the Ceremony next year!
Feel free to contact me.
H: 803-356-0611

I am glad I stumbled upon your website because I am one of those who for years blamed the leadership, not necessarily the pilots, if they had not been properly trained to function under the conditions of a combat mission. It is not only flak activity but the sheet volume of noise that can rattle one’s nerves.

If the only attempt at desensitizing the pilots were the few attempts at Pope, then the leadership did fail the pilots. There are ways to put up bursts of smoke without shrapnel but with noise. There is no reason to include bad weather at the same time and the losses at Pope sounded weather related.

Even if putting up shrapnel-free flak was impossible, training could have consisted of pulling in a cacophony of noise, blasts, pings, bass booms in order to provide some type of desensitization.

Ask any ground trooper who went into a battle what the one thing they were least prepared for, he will tell you it was the level of noise and how disorienting it could be.

So, it seems to me that there was a failure in training that could have helped minimize the mistakes with altitude and ground speed. There are few things to be done to compensate for bad weather and to the extent that many pilots stayed on course and made their drops is truly incredible flying.

I never questioned your bravery but given the extensive and repetitive training that paratroopers and all other elements of the invasion were subjected to and the extent to create “realistic” battle conditions, it sounds to me the air troop carrier pilots were left to their own devices.

My father was the personal pilot to General Lee and was the first pilot to fly into Orly, France six days after D-Day so General Lee could meet with then General DeGauille. I have a very nice photo of them getting ready to leave Heathrow Airport in London and standing at the door of the plane. If you’d like a copy, please let me know.

I am constantly looking for more information about my dad’s service. He didn’t like to talk about it, but he was in North Africa, Rome-Arno-Sicily, Rhineland and D-Day. I know one of the last missions he flew on was liberation of prisoner camps. He was a radio operator and mechanic with the 62nd Squadron of the 314th TC Group.

I have read several of the books mentioned here, including Van Reken’s, Johnston’s and Wood’s. I had the memorable honor of speaking with Mr. Van Reken before he passed- my father was listed in his book numerous times and he sent me a signed copy. Fortunately, I know people who still find great meaning in learning about the service of the Troop Carriers and Glider Pilots. There aren’t many of these heroes left, but I know some still have family who work to keep their memories, service and sacrifices alive. My deepest gratitude to those who have taken on this task. I miss my dad, and I’m really proud of him. RIP Staff Sargent Ashley E. Fleming and all of the others who served with him and are no longer with us.
Mary Fleming Green

Hi Mary,
I am french and look for documents and photos of the 314th TC ( especially the 32nd TCS ) based in Poix ( North of France near AMIENS ) in march 1944 for the opération Varsity. I live just beside Poix airfield.
The 1st LT Van Reken was one of the Pilots based here.
Would you have photos or documents who could help me to understand better this part of history, please ?
Best regards.
Philippe F.

Philippe, My father F/O Hershel Flynn was with the 32nd TCS at Poix. He flew gliders and C-47’s. He was in Operation Market Garden, Bastogne and Varsity. He was wounded while in a C-47 when the Pilot and Co-pilot were killed and flew the a/c back and crash landed. If you have any info or photos from this time at Poix it would be really great.
Mick Flynn

Hello Mary, I’ve just read this. My Dad was Crew Chief with 62nd TCG. His name was Theodore Carter Brewer (Ted) from Cortland Marathon, New York. His plane was called “Witch Hazel.” He passed away in 1976. Unfortunately his records were lost in the great fire so I have very little information on log books etc. He was also stationed at Poix and Spilsby England. Can you let me know if this reaches you please. Many thanks, Beryl

I am unsure how I happened to arrive at this website, but I am truly grateful. This is a wonderful read and something that I will pass on to my friends and acquaintances.