C-53 N45366 D-Day Doll was built at the Douglas factory in Sanat Monica, California in 1943. She was one of 159 C-53Ds and was delivered to AAF on July 7, 1943.
The C-53 Skytrooper is a specialised troop transport variant of the C-47. It lacked the cargo door, hoist attachment, and reinforced floor of the C-47. Only 380 aircraft were produced in all because the C-47 was found to be more versatile.
C-53 N45366 was assigned to the 434th Troop Carrier Group and stationed at various locations inc. Alliance Field, NE, Baer Field, IN, Fullbeck, UK and Welford Park, UK before arriving at Royal Air Force Aldermaston, UK in March 1944. The 434th TCG consisted of HQ and the 71st to 74th Squadrons. Aircraft 830 was assigned to the 72nd Squadron (CU). The group’s D-Day mission was to tow gliders carrying reinforcements to 101st Division troops who had been dropped earlier in the night near Utah Beach. At 01:19, June 6, 1944, 52 of the Group’s planes, each towing a Waco glider, took off from RAF Aldermaston Airfield for Normandy. Aircraft 830 flew three missions on D-Day and the next day.
While in Europe C-53 N45366 D-Day Doll participated in the D-Day invasion, Market Garden in Holland, the re-supply of Bastogne and the crossing of the Rhine. She also flew various support missions and wounded evacuations to England.