Valiant Air Command’s Tico Belle Set to Go Back to Normandy For D-Day Invasion 75th Anniversary
By Space Coast Daily // May 20, 2019
Tico Belle survived D-Day and served distinguished record of combat in the Liberation of Europe
BREVARD COUNTY TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – The Valiant Air Command’s D-Day Veteran Tico Belle has been invited to participate in the Daks over Normandy event which will be held June 5, 2019, at Duxford England in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.
During this momentous occasion, the Tico Belle will join dozens of her fellow North American based C-47s to cross the Atlantic to England and then on to Normandy, retracing her flight 75 years later.
The trip will consist of flying the Tico Belle up the east coast then the longest portion of her journey across the North Atlantic with stops including Nova Scotia, Iceland and Ireland before her arrival in the United Kingdom.
Donations and support were needed to help Tico Belle retrace her historic flight into Normandy, said the Valiant Air Command’s Executive Officer Bob Boswell.
“Tico Belle is a remarkable flying memorial to the men who flew her and flew into combat in her,” said Boswell.
More than 73 years ago, on June 5, 1944, at about 2300 hours she, along with hundreds like her at other airfields all over southern England, was at Station 469 – Ramsbury in the UK as members of the 82nd Airborne Division boarded C-47s and gliders for the assault on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe.”
D-Day, “The Longest Day” was on.
At 0407 hours, on June 6, 1944, at about 500 feet and in the face of determined flack from the defending German troops, the Tico Belle lined up on Landing Zone “O” near St Mere-Eglise and dropped these brave men into Normandy – and into history.
Tico Belle’s crew on that mission included 1st Lt Jay E Bloch, O-731802, Pilot, Oregon, 26; 2nd Lt Oscar B Hill, O-745093, Co-pilot, New York, 25; S/Sgt John A Quinn, 12203294, Crew Chief, New Jersey, 21; and Pfc J D Calhoun, 15353761, Radio Operator, Ohio, 20.
Tico Belle went on to survive and serve a distinguished record of combat in the Liberation of Europe, including:
• Normandy: June 1944 – Operation Neptune (D-Day)
• Southern France: July 1944 – Operation Dragoon
• Holland: September 1944 – Operation Market-Garden
• Belgium: December 1944 – Relief of Bastogne (The Battle of the Bulge)
• Germany: March 1945 – Operation Varsity
After the war, she stayed in Europe and participated in the Berlin Airlift before passing to the Royal Norwegian Air Force and finally the Royal Danish Air Force.
She came home to the Valiant Air Command in 1988 after serving as the VIP transport for the Danish Air Force.
“It is our honor to preserve and fly Tico Belle, C-47 42-100591, as a living monument to the men and women who served in World War II,” said Boswell.
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