The invasion of France has begun’. Those were the words of Missoula pilot Bryan Douglass as he flew the ‘Miss Montana’ C-47 aircraft over the English Channel today.

“We jumped on a plane at six o’clock this morning England time and we started the liberation of France,” said Douglass. “We landed at Cherbourg. We had five planes with us and we met one here. Two of the planed loaded jumpers and made a drop over Carentan which was kind of the center of the American assault.”

Douglass said his crew was preparing to load more jumpers at this time of this call at 3 am Missoula time.

“We’re loading up jumpers as we speak,” he said. “We’ll take five airplanes back to that same location and drop them. Then, we’ll be heading back to Duxford to pick up the jumpers for the main event, that’s the main Channel crossing with the drop at Centreville and then we’ll recover to Cannes.”

Douglass looked back at the real D-Day invasion when the paratroopers were dropped over France in the dark.

“Add to that the fact that they were getting shot at,” said Douglass. “Some of the planes dropped their jumpers over the water and then bugged out for England and most of those boys drowned. They were scattered all over Normandy and not surprisingly, that led to a lot of confusion on their part, but they were able to pull it all together and accomplish their mission, In fact, the confusion on our part actually confused the Germans and they thought it was probably a fake assault.”

Douglass will continue the channel crossings as part of the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings, and will also participate in tomorrow’s ceremony over the Omaha beach cemetery with the Presidents of the United States and France in attendance.

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