Famed World War II Veteran ‘Tico Belle’ Joins Armada of Aircraft Providing Aid to Dorian Victims in Bahamas
By Space Coast Daily // September 8, 2019
REP. RANDY FINE MAKES TRIP TO ASSIST EFFORT
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Rep. Randy Fine, who has been receiving supplies for the relief effort at his office in Palm Bay, was among those that flew to the Bahamas to assist the effort on Saturday. “I’m humbled to be joining our supply run to the Abacos this morning,” said Fine on Saturday.
Famed participant in history’s most epic military endeavor departed Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, bound for Sandy Point
BREVARD COUNTY TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – The Valiant Air Command’s famed D-Day Veteran “Tico Belle” is making hops to the Bahamas to deliver much-needed supplies to the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
Rep. Randy Fine, who has been receiving supplies for the relief effort at his office in Palm Bay, was among those that flew to the Bahamas to assist the effort on Saturday.
“I’m humbled to be joining our supply run to the Abacos this morning,” said Fine on Saturday.
“At least four flights today. One of our planes was used to parachute in soldiers in World War II. Now it is being used to bring supplies. Historic effort being made by the people of Brevard. Will share as much as I can today before, during, and after the flight.”
The famed participant in history’s most epic military endeavor departed Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, bound for Sandy Point with 5,000 pounds of critical supplies for the stricken Great Abaco Island.
“Tico Belle is a remarkable flying memorial to the men who flew her and flew into combat in her,” said the Valiant Air Command’s Executive Officer Bob Boswell.
The Tico Belle joins the armada of aircraft associated with Brevard’s Relief for the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian, a coalition of groups and volunteers working to assist victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
Brevard’s Relief for the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian collaborated on Thursday with Florida Tech to begin to send a plane-load full of relief supplies to victims of the CAT 5 hurricane that struck the island.
“Our Florida Tech pilots made it home safe from delivering the first load of supplies to the Bahamas,” said Melbourne City Council Member Paul Alfrey on Thursday.
“Over 100 Bahamian residents were awaiting our relief at Sandy Point.”
Collaborating closely with Alfrey are fellow Melbourne City Council Member Tim Thomas, Relief Director John Casey and the Florida Tech aviation alumni.
Also assisting are Melbourne City Council Members Mark Larusso and Julie Sanders, Vice Mayor Debbie Thomas, Brevard County Commissioners Kristine Isnardi and Bryan Lober, West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose and Council Member John Dittmore, Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Brian Anderson and State Representative Randy Fine.
The Brevard Clerk of Court Viera Manager Rachel Sadoff has opened their locations to receive donations as well.
This collaboration is possible through partnerships with the Orlando Melbourne International Airport, Florida Tech and the College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, ABC Supply of Melbourne and Rockledge, Space Coast Association of Realtors, Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce and many local business locations working as drop-off points for residents who wish to donate.
If you would like to volunteer in the cargo area or can transport items please contact Relief Director John Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org
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TICO BELLE AMONG SPACE COAST’S BEST KNOWN WORLD WAR II CELEBRITIES
More than 75 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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