Valiant Air Command’s C-47 ‘Tico Belle’ Dropped Paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day Near St. Mere-Eglise
By Space Coast Daily // June 6, 2022
dropped brave men into Normandy – and into history; came to the Valiant Air Command in 1988
C-47 42-100591 is a living monument to the men and women who served in World War II.
BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – On June 5, 1944, at about 2300 hours, the Valiant Air Command’s Tico Belle, 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 Airbourne Division boarded C-47s and gliders for the assault on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe.”
The Tico Belle is based at the Warbird Museum, located at the Space Coast Regional Airport at 6600 Tico Road in Titusville. The VAC contains vintage aircraft and a 30,000-square-foot hangar with a restoration area.
“Tico Belle is a remarkable flying memorial to the men who flew her and flew into combat in her,” said Valiant Air Command Executive Officer Bob Boswell.
Founded in 1977, The Valiant Air Command has a continually growing collection of over 50 historic warbirds from the beginnings of aviation to the present day.
The VAC is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation of, education about and commemoration of Warbirds from all eras and the men and women who flew, maintained and fought in them.
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.
For more information, visit ValiantAirCommand.com
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