Mann Gulch DC-3 to fly to Europe for 75th anniversary of D-Day

Much work has to be done on the aircraft before the event in 2019

1949 Mann Gulch Fire smokejumpers

Above: Removal of victims at the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire. USFS photo.

The aircraft that dropped the smokejumpers who attacked the Mann Gulch Fire in 1949 is scheduled to cross the Atlantic next year to take part in the 75th commemoration of D-Day. The fire in Montana on which 12 jumpers and one fire guard died in 1949 is infamous among wildland firefighters as its memory lives on when more generations read about the tragedy in Norman Maclean’s book Young Men and Fire.

The Missoulian has the story about how numerous volunteers are mobilizing to work on the 74-year old aircraft’s airworthiness and regulatory compliance — it has not been in the air since 2001.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

It seems preposterous.

Take an historic, over-the-hills smokejumper plane that was last airborne in 2001, fix it up to federal standards, and fly it to Europe next year for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Maybe even drop jumpers into France, pulling ripcords of old-fashioned round parachutes and wearing suits their grandfathers used during the Normandy invasion in France on June 6, 1944.

And while you’re there, hit Germany to take part in the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Berlin Airlift (1948-49).

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2 thoughts on “Mann Gulch DC-3 to fly to Europe for 75th anniversary of D-Day”

  1. Great tribute to those those brave FF’s! I have been to that site several times and it is heart rendering .
    We should all pray that no FF’s get trapped in a box canyon ,ever again .
    Also thank you to the brave soldiers, who gave it their all at Normandy .

  2. Chuck said it better than I could. In another life, I used to airdrop paratroops
    at Fort Benning and other Army posts in the mid-1970s after I got back from
    overseas. I’ll never forget announcing “Green Light” and “Red Light” to
    keep ’em on the drop zone. I can’t imagine the terror of the thick flak that
    they faced in Normandy at drop altitude.

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