TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN COMBAT GLIDER PILOTS OF WORLD WAR II

                                                         

2014 Reunion of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association - Click here for information

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WACO DRAWINGS

by David Eckert

 

These beautiful CG-4A drawings are by David Eckert.   Additional aviation drawings and photos by Mr. Eckert may be seen at his website at www.Daviator.Com.

 

Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.

 

"The Fighting Falcon," a gift of the Greenville, Michigan Schools to the U.S. Army Air Corps.  Funded by a drive by Greenville students to raise $17,000 for one glider.  The drive was so successful that they raised enough money for four gliders.   Manufactured by the Gibson Refrigerator Company, Greenville, Michigan (Gibson made wooden refrigerators - and caskets - before WWII).  This glider was the first CG-4A into Normandy on D-Day. (Silent Wings - Pages 184-185)

 

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"The Fighting Falcon," flown into Normandy "Landing Zone 'W'" by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Murphy, the Senior Glider Officer in 9th Troop Carrier Command.

 

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Brigadier General Don F. Pratt, Assistant Division Commander, 101st Airborne Division, and LTC Murphy's co-pilot, Lieutenant John M. Butler, were killed when The Fighting Falcon, piloted by LTC Murphy, landed in a field of wet, tall grass at 03:45 AM (a few seconds after 4:00 AM by other accounts), June 6, 1944.  Lieutenant John L. May, the general's aide, was slightly injured.  The glider's wheels locked when Murphy applied the brakes but the grass did not provide the friction needed to stop.  The glider hit a tree-lined hedgerow at between 60-80 mph .  LTC Murphy survived but both of his legs were broken, one severely with a compound fracture.  (Silent Wings - Pages 183-186; LTC Murphy in a conversation with George Brennan after the war; and, Glider Pilot Leon Spencer).  A variation on LTC Murphy's landing was part of the story in the movie "Saving Private Ryan."

 

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The actual "Fighting Falcon."  Photo taken at Greenham Common in 1944.  Photo courtesy of Jonathan Sayers fencer_js@yahoo.com.  Can anyone identify the men in the photo?  It is possible that LTC Murphy and LT. Butler are among them.

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Lt. May, BG Pratt, Colonel Murphy, and Lt. Butler with the original Fighting Falcon

 

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