Douglas R4D "Ready 4 Duty"
The Douglas R4D, C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF designation) is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remains in front line service with various military operators to the present day.
The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous ways, including being fitted with a cargo door, hoist attachment, and reinforced floor, along with a shortened tail cone for glider-towing shackles, and an astrodome in the cabin roof. During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo, and wounded. The U.S. Naval designation was R4D.
More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica, California and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Between March 1943 and August 1945 the Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s.
"Ready 4 Duty"
Built in 1944, "Ready-4-Duty" (Bureau Number 50783) is an R4D-6S, the U.S. Navy’s version of the DC-3 and C-47.
Her first assignment was to VR-3, Naval Air Transport Service, where she airlifted wounded servicemen and cargo/supplies through April 1946. She was then transferred to Fleet Airborne Electronics Training Unit, Atlantic, and assigned to VX-1, an evaluation squadron based at Key West, Florida, where she evaluated top secret electronic “gadgets,” records for which remain classified (or lost). "Ready-4-Duty" finished her U.S. Navy career in NART, Naval Reserve Training, in 1959.
Later, she served as a smoke jumper for the US Forestry Service before being acquired by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF).
In 1985, "Ready-4-Duty" was the first CAF warbird to cross the North Atlantic and tour Europe. Now, nearly 40 years later, she and her crew are excited to retrace those steps as part of the D-Day Squadron. And as the first WWII U.S. Naval ship or aircraft to return to Normandy in many years, "Ready-4-Duty" is honored to be able to bring the U.S. Navy back to Normandy.