The C-47 Dakota is the military variant of the successful DC-3 airliner. The C-47 became the workhorse transport aircraft of the United States during the Second World War. Many of these rugged, reliable airplanes are still in service today throughout the world. Most Allied soldiers knew this airplane by its nickname, the Gooney Bird.
C-47's were also used to drop Allied paratroopers behind enemy lines. The particular airplane displayed in the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum was used to transport paratroopers in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Note the three white stripes on the airplane's wings. All aircraft participating in the invasion were given the stripes to help the massive Allied armada avoid accidently shooting at their own planes.
The Gooney Bird on display holds special historical significance since it flew paratroopers of the U. S. 101st Airborne Division to battle during the D-Day Invasion. Film and history enthusiasts would recognize the 101st Division as the division of Easy (E) Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment that was immortalized in the 2001 mini series "Band of Brothers", as well as the non-fiction book of the same name. At the end of the first episode of "Band of Brother", Lieutenant Winters sat looking out the open door of a transport. His plane was part of a massive fleet of transport aircraft. The Dakota is type of airplane depicted in scene in which Lt. Winters was flying.