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Athol Daily News – Famed Whiskey 7 troop transport plane to be featured at Military Expo May 17-19

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Published: 4/18/2019 9:55:27 PM

Modified: 4/18/2019 9:55:16 PM

ORANGE — The Orange American Legion Post 172 Building Association recently presented a $1,000 check to Dan Eaton, organizer of the Massachusetts Military History Expo, to be used toward a visit of the Whiskey 7 veteran aircraft. The Expo is returning for its fifth year to 645 South Main St., from May 17 to 19, during Armed Forces weekend. The Whiskey 7 troop transport plane flew over Normandy during the D-Day invasion 75 years ago this coming June 6. This is the second year it has appeared at the Expo.

Whiskey 7, a C-47 also known as W7, is owned by the National Warplane Museum located in Geneseo, New York. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of World War II and Korean War era military aircraft, equipment, and the stories of the men and women who served our country at home and abroad. The plane will be flown directly from the museum by an all volunteer crew.

The W7 originally served with the 12th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater in 1943 and the 9th Air Force in England from 1944 to 1945 as part of the 316th Troop Carrier Group.

Whiskey 7 was one of the lead aircraft of the first strike over Sainte-Mere Eglise, Normandy, France, dropping paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division as part of Operation NEPTUNE. The “warbird” flew and survived more missions, including Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944, where it towed gliders.

The twin-engine plane has a “very distinct sound,” according to Eaton, and is one of a handful of C-47 airplanes remaining. Several of them will be flying to Europe to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, he said.

The Whiskey 7 will be flying all weekend during the Massachusetts Military History Expo giving passengers rides (for a fee) where they can sense and observe the point of view of a paratrooper. Skydivers from Jumptown in Orange are scheduled to participate.

The Expo also runs a World War I event in September. Eaton said the re-enactors research everything they do. “We are a military timeline to bring education of the experiences of our fighting men and women, specifically those from Massachusetts,” he said. “Our goal is to simply get kids to open a book and to learn more” about America’s military history.

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