'Whiskey 7' returns home following Normandy trip

Updated: 06/14/2014 9:28 PM
Created: 06/14/2014 12:59 PM WHEC.com

Whiskey 7 returned to the United States on Saturday after a month long journey to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

On Flag Day, the restored war plane made a grand entrance to western New York skies as it returned home to Geneseo.

“Brought back memories of D-Day and things like that. Some memories are good, and some are bad, but it brought back a lot of memories,” said Jack VanDerMaid, a WWII veteran.

The restored World War II plane took off last month for the historical “Return to Normandy” mission.

“It’s vitally important that people don’t forget the sacrifices that those guys made 70 years ago. I’ll tell you, more than anywhere else, in Europe they remember that,” said Chief Pilot Chris Polhemus.

Whiskey 7 traveled across the northeast United States, through Canada, Greenland, the United Kingdom and to Normandy, France.  It was a once in a lifetime mission to honor the past.

“The airplane was really well received. I think it meant very much to a lot of people all over the world, not only when we got on the round, but when we were in the air as well. Air traffic controllers were aware of the project we were doing,” said Polhemus.

During World War II, the twin engine plane was assigned to the 37th troop carrier squadron.

The aircraft is believed to be the only remaining air-worthy, C-47 from the original squadron.

“I think it’s very important for younger generations to know what WWII was about. We have freedom, but freedom is not free,” said VanDerMaid.

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