Ad Spot

Fordice to help pilot historic plane across the Atlantic

Dan Fordice is flying to England with a piece of history.

Fordice, founder of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation, is one of four Commemorative Air Force pilots flying the U.S. Army Air Force C-47 “That’s All … Brother” to Duxworth, England, a former Royal Air Force base and home of the British Imperial War Museum’s aviation museum.

The plane will take part with 26 other transports in a paratrooper drop over Normandy, France, commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Fordice was named to the team of pilots because of his involvement with the CAF and is a sponsor of the aircraft.

“This particular plane is probably the most historic plane in all of World War II,” Fordice said.

“During the 5th and 6th of June, the American Army Air Force and the British launched 800 C-47s to drop 13,000 paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions behind enemy lines to keep the Germans from being able to come reinforce the coastline.

“This (plane) was No. 1; they all followed this one.”

The plane also dropped paratroopers for Operation Market Garden in World War II, and participated in the Berlin Airlift from Jun 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949.

He said the Commemorative Air Force found “That’s All … Brother” about five years ago in Oshkosh, Wisc., “And were just amazed that this airplane was still out there. We were able to acquire the airplane and do a refurbish like no other. It’s nicest C-47 out there in the world, probably.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to be on the team flying it over the Atlantic. We’re taking four pilots and a crew chief.”

The plans left Tuesday for England from Oxford, Conn., with 15 other C-47s. The planes, Fordice said, will do a 15-ship formation over New York City on the way to Goose Bay, Canada.

From Canada, the flight goes to Narsaq, Greenland, Reykjavík, Iceland, and then to Prestwick Scotland before landing in Duxford, England.

“The airplane is going to be over there about six weeks,” Fordice said, adding he will not be flying in the D-Day program. He said one D-Day veteran, Jim “PeeWee” Martin, 97, a member of the 101st Airborne who landed in France on D-Day, was expected to jump, but will not because of illness.

He said the plane was found at the Basler Co. in Oshkosh. The company cuts planes like C-47s in half, adds 50 inches to the fuselage and adds turbine engines to convert the plane to a heavy hauler.

“You can’t buy an airplane (like the C-47) for any money that can pickup and operate off rough terrain and short runways as well as this airplane can,” Fordice said.

Luckily, he said, “That’s All … Brother” was in worse shape than some of the other planes, “So they just kept passing over it and waiting until they didn’t have any more airframes before they used this one.

“It was in pretty bad shape. It had a lot of corrosion and hadn’t been taken care of over the years. It is in beautiful condition today.”

Also flew Market Garden and Berlin Airlift.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John


Vicksburg District presents district colors for the first time


Woman reportedly assaulted by ex-boyfriend who is wanted by police


Dog found dead inside floating wire cage


Conservation groups sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over backwater pumps


Carrier problems affecting fuel supplies at Circle K stores


Vicksburg native selected as Who’s Who at Ole Miss


City’s animal shelter closes temporarily for ‘parvo quarantine’


Traffic alert: Car has reportedly flipped several times on I-20


One-third of Warren County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine


Warrant offers insight into Vicksburg man’s death in Texas


Force multiplier: ERDC commissions semi-autonomous research vessel


BancorpSouth, Texas bank merge


Crime reports: Woman charged with shooting into another vehicle Sunday


City, county support four-lane expansion along Hwy. 27, U.S. 61 North


Fatal hit-and-run suspect charged, bond set at $150K

Downtown Vicksburg

Fire department responds to vehicle fire at McDonald’s

Downtown Vicksburg

Mississippi River Commission to visit Vicksburg on annual high-water inspection trip


Fatal hit-and-run suspect appears in Vicksburg Municipal Court


District announces additional graduation changes, graduates allowed more tickets


Profile 2021: A deserving award for those who preserve our history


Profile 2021: Mixing the new with the old and very old


Profile 2021: The tomato sandwich is a Vicksburg classic


Vicksburg, Warren County COVID-19 numbers fall to levels not seen since May


Authorities identify victim in Friday’s fatal hit-and-run