MASON CITY — A pair of World War II aircraft are at the Mason City Municipal Airport this weekend. The C-47 “That’s All Brother” was one of the lead aircraft that delivered the first Allied troops to France on D-Day in 1944.
Pilot Doug Rozendahl of Clear Lake says to have a historic artifact like this out where the public can see it and actually experience a ride is really special. “The Enola Gay is in a museum. The Spirit of St. Louis is in a museum. This airplane, when the main wave left on the morning of June 6th, this airplane led over 820 airplanes that took over the course of the day more than 13,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines, and glider crews behind enemy lines, to stop the resupply of the guns on the cliffs above the beaches at Normandy.”
Rozendahl says there were 18 paratroopers on the plane that night, and people can experience what it was like to be involved on that D-Day flight. “Sadly the stories of World War II are dying with the World War II veterans. You know it’s tried but true that the history that we forget we are forced to re-learn. We fly these airplanes to honor the men and women who were involved in that conflict, and I would argue the best way we can honor them is to make sure that their sacrifice was not in vain, and to do that we need to keep that history alive so people can remember.”
Rozendahl is part of the Commemorative Air Force that flies numerous historic planes around the country. “We have over 170 airplanes that are scattered all across the country and a few foreign countries, and that’s our mission to honor, educate and inspire. Airplanes are not only educational, but they are inspirational. I remember as a kid sitting on a tractor, looking up at an airplane and just going ‘wow, how cool that must be’, and that’s a big part of the reason why I’m here.”