Model Year: 1942
Construction Number: 32832
This aircraft was built as a C-47-DL sn 42-32832 and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force on February 11, 1943. It was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Squadron and on May 4, 1943 Secret orders were received: " ... proceed in aircraft as indicated from Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida via Marreckech, French Morocco, North Africa to Western Task Force, reporting upon arrival there to the Commanding General, North African Theater of Operations for duty and assignment".
CREW & PASSENGERS ON TRIP TO AFRICA INCLUDED:
C-47 42-32832 0264-K-2
P-1st Lt John L. Wood, 0-660851
CP-2nd Lt Donald E. King, 0-737432
E-T/Sgt Clifford V. Moadows, 13033945
A. Pvt Waltor E. Schryvor, 32474132
Pass-Pfc Isaac H. Kidd, 34510382
Pass-2nd Lt Billy W. Elliott, 0-737382
On the trip to Africa, the aircraft was piloted by John L. Wood, who shortly thereafter piloted a sister ship C-47 42-82842. Lt. Donald E. King stayed with this aircraft as pilot throughout the war in Europe. His son (Kevin King) provided a detailed diary of the missions flown by his dad including (Husky, D-Day, Market Garden).
42-32832 successfully dropped 18 Paratroopers on June 6, 1944 during the D-Day invasion with no casualties. But by June 6th, three of the paratroopers dropped were killed in action.
42-32832 is the only surviving C-47 from the original 13 that formed the 53rd Troop Carrier Squadron. David Elliott (Billy Elliott's son) contacted me in 2008 and asked that I verify the military serial number. Thankfully the data plate was still in the aircraft. David has shared with me the history of this aircraft and squadron as he has collected data over the past two decades researching his father's military history. David introduced me to Kevin King who has also provided a tremendous amount of historical documentation of his dad and this specific aircraft.
By July 16, 1945 this aircraft had made it back to the United States where it was assigned registration number NC75412 and converted to a DC-3C by the Executive Transport Corporation. After conversion the aircraft was sold to General Motors, Inc., in Detroit, Michigan, where it was assigned a new registration number; N5106. In May 1967 she was re-registered N5106X and during November 1967 she was donated to the Board of Trustees, Southern Illinois University, at Carbondale, Illinois who installed a 24-passenger configuration. The aircraft was sold to Henry Oliver III (Santa Fe NM) in July 1985 and attended the EXPO 86 DC-3 fly-in at Abbotsford, Canada. Henry sold it to Bygon Aviation where it was flown on a 135 certificate for a short period of time. It was then sold to the David Nickolas Organ Donor Awareness Foundation Inc and operated by heart transplant recipient; Rodney DeBaun.
I bought the plane from Rodney on August 4, 2000 and built a grass strip and hanger for it (XS70) in Mt. Pleasant Texas. A second new engine has recently been installed. The aircraft has just over 18,000 flight hours on the airframe.