Douglas VC-47A Skytrain (DC-3)

Douglas VC-47A Skytrain (DC-3) (Google Maps)
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By kjfitz @ 2007-03-16 23:29:06
General Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, “The atomic bomb, the bazooka, the jeep and the DC-3 were the four things that won the war for the Allies”. During World War II, the DC-3 (C-47 in military service) was used to land supplies and troops, tow gliders, drop paratroops, and modified for executive transport. Crews rolled 500 lb bombs out the cargo door and a C-47 pilot was even credited a victory over a Japanese Zero fighter when he maneuvered close to the ground, forcing the Zero to crash. Also nicknamed “Gooney Bird” because of the way the wings flapped on take-off and “Dakota” by the British, it was flown in all theaters of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and still used by Third World military and many private airlines today. The gunship version did not enter service until early Vietnam. Armament consisted of three 7.62mm miniguns firing 6000 rpm each. It’s nickname was “Puff the Magic Dragon” because of the tongue of flame that shot from the aircraft while the guns were being fired. The C-47 is the only aircraft ever licensed for production in Russia. The seaplane version had the largest floats ever produced for a seaplane. The floats also doubled as the fuel tanks.

The aircraft at the March Field Museum is a VC-47A serial number 43-15579. It was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California and delivered to the Army Air Force on l2 April 1944. It served in the Air Transport Command and Air National Guard until retired in October 1972. It was used for transport of Governors Edmund G. “Pat” Brown and Ronald Reagan during their tenure in office. It was obtained from the California Air National Guard. It was dis-assembled, the fuselage used as a trailer, brought to the museum on freeways and re-assembled by volunteers. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the museum’s VC-47A has the following history:

VC-47A, s/n 43-15579 was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach, CA and delivered to the USAAF on 12 Apr 1944. Its assignments were:

Apr 1944 - To 560th AAF Base Unit (Troop Carrier Command), Palm Springs AAF FL

Mar 1945 - To 591st AAF Base Unit (Air Transport Command), Stockton AAF CA

Nov 1945 - To 554th AAF Base Unit (ATC), Memphis AAF TN

Dec 1945 - To 555th AAF Base Unit (ATC), Love AAF TX

Mar 1946 - To 4105th AAF Base Unit (Air Technical Service Command), Davis-Monthan AAF AZ (storage)

Feb 1947 - To 4126th AAF Base Unit, San Bernardino Air Materiel Center

Mar 1947 - To 195th Fighter Squadron (ANG), Van Nuys AP CA

Oct 1949 - To 115th Bombardment (Light) Squadron (ANG), Van Nuys AP CA

Jan 1950 - Unit moved to Lockheed Air Terminal, Burbank CA

Dec 1950 - To 146th Composite Wing (ANG), Lockheed AT CA

Feb 1951 - To 144th Fighter Wing (ANG), Hayward AP CA

Jan 1953 - To 115th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (ANG), Van Nuys AP CA

May 1961 - To 129th Troop Carrier (Medium) Squadron (ANG), Hayward AP CA

May 1967 - To 163rd Fighter Group (ANG), Ontario AP CA

Oct 1972 - To 144th Fighter-Interceptor Group (ANG), Fresno Air Terminal CA and dropped from USAF inventory by transfer to school or museum
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Douglas VC-47A Skytrain (DC-3)
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