Yesterday afternoon on the 76th anniversary of D-Day, a group of aviation enthusiasts paid tribute to frontline health workers that have been battling the coronavirus in the State of New York. Called “Operation Thanks from Above,” it was organized by the National War Plane Museum in Geneseo, a town located in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Using three aircraft led by a Douglas C-47, the military version of the DC-3, the planes stopped at Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) in New York’s Southern Tier to refuel. There to meet them and ask about “Operation Thanks from Above“, was a news crew from local TV station 12 WBNG.
“We wanted to give a tribute to the first responders and medical employees who have worked so hard during this COVID crisis,” said pilot Reuben Alconero.
Whiskey 7 was involved in D-Day
Alconero’s co-pilot Mike Piampiano was eager to point out that choosing June 6 for the flyover was no coincidence as Whiskey 7 was not just any ordinary plane. “This airplane here was the lead aircraft of the second wave of the Normandy invasion, so this is a special moment for us here today flying this airplane,” he said.
76 years after leading the second wave of aircraft on D-Day, DC-3 N345AB is leading a flyover in New York to celebrate healthcare workers. https://t.co/iawkPmPrUz #ThanksfromAbove pic.twitter.com/x4UUc4pQHW
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) June 6, 2020
While leading the second wave on D-Day, Whiskey 7, transported paratroopers from the 505th Para Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Airbourne Division. The troops successfully arrived at their landing zone, where they liberated the French village of St. Mere Eglise.
Following its exploits on D-Day, Whiskey 7 was used to tow gliders during operation “Market Garden” to capture the bridges over the River Rhine and give Allied troops a road into northern Germany.
Flying over Broome County hospitals
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar added that today isn’t just another day but a historic event in world history.
“Today is D-Day, so I think it’s pretty awesome that on this day, this plane is flying over Broome County on this day,” he said. “Sometime’s we’ve talked about this pandemic being a war, so I think it’s kind of cool that you have warplanes flying over and saying thank you.”
The men flying the planes echoed that statement, saying “This was an aircraft that helped protect our nation by carrying troops, and these workers protected our nation by taking care of us,” said Alconero.
After taking on fuel, the aircraft took off on a journey that would see them fly over all of Broome County’s hospitals before heading north to Ithica and then back to their home base at the museum in Geneseo.
About National War Plane Museum in Geneseo
The National War Plane Museum in Geneseo, New York, restores, flies, and displays Second World War and Korean War-era military aircraft.
The museum also organizes what it calls the “Greatest Show On Turf” that attracts vintage military aircraft from around the world. This summer, sadly, the museum issued a press release announcing that the show had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Did you happen to see the flyover? If so let us know about it in the comments.