More than 70 years ago, on the 5th June 1944, at about 11pm, “Tico Belle”, along with hundreds like her at other airfields all over southern England, was at Station 469 - Ramsbury was at RAF Ramsbury in UK as members of the 82nd Airbourne Division boarded C-47's and gliders for the assault on Hitler's "Festung Europa" - Fortress Europe.
At 4:07am on June 6th, 1944, at about 500 feet and in the face of determined flack from the defending German troops, "Tico Belle" lined up on Landing Zone "O" near St Mere-Eglise and dropped these brave men into Normandy and into history.
Her crew on that mission was as follows:
1st Lt Jay E Bloch, O-731802, Pilot , Oregon, 26
2nd Lt Oscar B Hill, O-745093, Co-pilot, New York, 25
S/Sgt John A Quinn, 12203294, Crew Chief, New Jersey, 21
Pfc J D Calhoun, 15353761, Radio Operator, Ohio, 20
Tico Belle went on to serve, and survive, a distinguished record of combat in the Liberation of Europe
Normandy - June 1944 – Operation Neptune (D-Day)
Southern France – July 1944 - Operation Dragoon
Holland – September 1944 - Operation Market-Garden
Belgium - December 1944 - Relief of Bastogne (The Battle of the Bulge)
Germany – March 1945 - Operation Varsity
After the war, she stayed in Europe and participated in the Berlin Airlift before passing to the Royal Norwegan Air Force and finally the Royal Danish Air Force. She came home to the VAC in 1988 after service as the VIP transport for the Danish AF.
The Valiant Air Command & Warbird Museum has the honor to preserve and fly Tico Belle as a living monument to the men and women who served in WW2.
Be sure to come visit a piece of living history as explore all of the other aircraft and historic memorabilia the museum has to offer.