May 15

Our patience was rewarded. We prepared for a three-hour flight to Oxford in clear, crisp morning air. The flight path traversed Pennsylvania. Like Washington, springtime took its time to arrive such that deciduous trees only recently became full and green. Scattered clouds remained from the departed system causing some “wing wobble,” but anticipation of arrival at Oxford relegated light turbulence to a second- or third-tier distraction.

Oxford Airport is north of the greater New York City area. On a sunny day like today, you see the skyline. The surrounding area features rolling hills and colonial homes with white columns and window shutters. When we arrived the balance of the D-Day Squadron had departed for the New England Air Museum so we had a chance to park and assess the local situation before eight other C-47s also occupied the ramp.

Selection of Oxford as a rendezvous and training point makes perfect sense. The airport has the scale to support a squadron of large airplanes for training and display, yet is small enough to convey a sense of community. All the arrangements for an air show/air festival were in place such as trained volunteers in orange t-shirts to define the perimeter and assist crews. We witnessed the return of the Squadron with an overhead break to a streaming landing. It’s very impressive to see so many C-47s in trail, all landing safely. The number of C-47s forming up to fly across the Channel on the night of June 5, 1944, boggles the mind. Sources vary but that number was over 900.

John Sessions