Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2019 Issue
OSHKOSH, WIS. – The D-Day Squadron, having successfully crossed the Atlantic with 15 C-47 and DC-3 aircraft, traveled to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 22-28, 2019 with 10 aircraft, to participate in The World’s Greatest Aviation Event.” Prior to Oshkosh, the squadron completed multiple paratrooper drops and a presidential flyover for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings in France, the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and commemorations in Connecticut, Maine, Scotland, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.
Other accomplishments by the squadron included personally honoring six D-Day veterans, flying 150,000 total miles, 1,050 total flight hours, 1,776 miles flown over water, 7 weeks on the road for crews across 8 countries, 11 flight information regions covered by squadron aircraft, 5,000 lbs. of Jelly Belly parachutes dropped during the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, participation by 75 pilots participated, one presidential flyover was done on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one route completed over Manhattan and around the Statue of Liberty, 2.3 million people reached on social media, events covered by 195 individual accredited media, and 45 partners and major donors helped to make every accomplishment a reality.
“’Mission Accomplished’ may seem like an overused phrase, but I’m not sure what else you can say,” declared Moreno Aguiari, director of marketing and public relations for the D-Day Squadron. “There was no one person responsible for this effort. An incredible number of people came together to fly 75-year-old aircraft to some of the most remote locations on the planet, then attended weeks of celebrations honoring the Greatest Generation and their incredible achievements. Then, they made the journey a second time to return home. But it also goes far beyond the pilots and crews, as that only scratches the surface of the logistical support that each aircraft received during every leg of the journey.”
“We could never have accomplished this without the support of our partners and donors,” concurred Lyndse Costabile, corporate and donor relations coordinator, for the D-Day Squadron. “Discounted fuel, ground handling, FBO fees, flight gear, event sponsorship, marketing support; the efforts contributed by these organizations was as fitting as excellent people, and orchestrated 200 contractors and 150 subcontractors for the development of the Apollo program and the goal of human spaceflight. From Mercury to Gemini and Apollo, challenges, tragedy and success were endured for the greater goal of putting man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the Moon’s surface for the Apollo 11 mission, while Michael Collins remained circling in the command module. All three astronauts safely returned to earth on July 24, 1969.
The Gilruth Continuum, an educational program of the Duluth Aviation Institute, has taught over 6,000 students in Duluth, Hermantown, and Proctor, Minn. The aviation science curriculum is taught in coordination with the associated school districts and the 6th grade science teachers. The program started with one small step – a letter to the 6th grade science teachers.
The Duluth Aviation Institute’s vision is to have a community inspired and enriched by the art and science of aviation. The institute’s goal is to inspire students to land another Eagle and come again in peace for all mankind (duluthaviationinstitute.org).