We are now able to offer a new "ride-along" Airborne experience. Individuals will be allowed to go "Airborne" along with jump team members on a C47 flight. Hear and feel what it's like to ride in a WWII vintage aircraft and watch the troops dressed in WWII uniforms and equipment "Stand Up & hook Up".
To learn more about this opportunity contact us at: operations_@_wwiiadt.org
Enlistment date: November 1942
Units: 36th Troop Carrier squadron, 316th Troop Carrier Group, Troop Carrier Wing, 9th Air Force
Specialisations: Crew Chief
Qualifications: Aircraft Mechanics/Engineer
Decorations: EAME Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation
Discharge Date: September 1945
Other Information: Vane enlisted in November 1942 and embarked on a brief basic training program in California for three weeks. Following basic, he moved to Nebraska to begin a five month airplane mechanic school followed by further training at the Douglas Long Beach plant in California where he trained specifically on the Douglas C-47.
After this training
Vane was on the move again, this time to Fort Benning, Georgia to
undergo further training, this time with the inclusion of airborne
troops. From here, he transferred to Mississippi to undergo more
training with the crew he would travel overseas with, before moving to
Fort Wayne, Indiana where his unit received a brand new C-47 and
prepared for overseas duty. Vane’s crew were destined to head for Europe
and they began the long flight by air by heading to Florida and the
South America. This southern route was used by most of the C-47 crews
and the journey would take them via Brazil to Africa and then north to
England and it typically took 18 to 20 days to make this journey.
After D-Day he hauled freight for 2 or 3 months. His plane carried about 5,000 lbs of freight. When the army divisions were crossing France he hauled supplies to them about every day. He hauled everything imaginable; supplies included food, clothing, ammunition and gasoline. They hauled gasoline in 5 gallon cans.
In September 1944 he took part in the allied airborne invasion of The Netherlands. Again, Vane hauled paratroopers and gliders into Holland. When he pulled gliders into The Netherlands his unit caught a lot more anti-aircraft fire. The Germans, evidently, were lying in wait for them around the drop zone than they saw in Normandy. They lost five airplanes close to the drop zone on the mission one of which was the plane that was flying next to Vane. They also shot down the glider his plane was pulling.
After Operation Market Garden, Vane and his crew went back to hauling freight and extracting wounded and prisoners. Then came the Battle of The Bulge, where he once again, Vane hauled anti-tank guns, ammunition and other materiel up to the front lines. At Christmas time he hauled freight, was gone for 4 or 5 days, missing his 3 day pass. He continued hauling freight all winter. One thing about it, the air crews got to see a lot of different places across northern Europe. He flew into Paris, Brussels and a lot of cities across northern Europe. He would fly down to southern England where they kept most of the depots, load up and fly to their specified destination. They'd stay all night there at the depot and the next day they would fly over to the continent to France, Belgium, or The Netherlands. They continued to do this until almost the end of the War.
Toward the end of the war, 4 or 5 weeks before the end of the war, they moved over to France to a new base at Amiens, which is about 50 miles northeast of Paris but some weeks later the war came to an end. The aircrews hoped that they would fly home to the USA, but when their time came, they put the whole group on a boat and moved sailed to Trinidad. Vane remained behind to help change engines on some of the C-47s and so about a week after the rest of the squadron, he was flown to Trinidad, arriving a few days before the ship. They remained in Trinidad for 4 or 5 months. The idea to start with was to haul the troops back from Europe by plane and ship them to the Pacific. But they could only haul about 25 or 30 at a time, so after 2 or 3 weeks they gave that up and brought the troops back by boat. The remainder of their time was really spent waiting to be discharged. There was little productive to do and each day they just went down to the hangar and played pinochle all day-just something to pass the time away.
By the end of September they flew part of the group back to the states and started discharging the men. Vane wound up in Leavenworth, Kansas. That's where he had been inducted into the army and he got his discharge the last day of September 1945.