Veteran Pilots Revisit Airdrop Site

Veterans who participated in the D-Day airdrops revisited the historic Normandy locations on Thursday - in the cockpit of an original Douglas C-47 plane.

Some 15-thousand Allied paratroopers were dropped in and around the village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise on D-Day.

It became the first to be liberated by the Allies and remains one of the enduring symbols of the Allied invasion.

"I'll tell you, it's amazing," said Les Cruise, Jr., a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne on D-Day.

"I'm glad I got out of that plane before they shot it out of the sky," the 90-year-old from Philadelphia said.

Veteran pilot Bill Prindible took control of the twin-propeller C-47 - just as he had 70 years ago.

The 90-year-old from Austin, Texas said things looked a lot different this time around - there was light and there were no paratroopers on board loaded down with 100 pounds of gear, including a dissembled M-1 rifle, 30-caliber ammo and K-rations.

Julian "Bud" Rice, also a veteran C-47 pilot, smiled brightly as he entered the cockpit.

In addition to Normandy, Rice also participated in an airdrop over Holland during which an engine was destroyed by enemy fire.

He managed to return the plane and those on board back safely.

The 93-year-old still looked in awe at the region he flew over recalling the events from 70 years ago.


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