AMC Museum to commemorate D-Day this weekend

The Milford-based Smooth Sound Big Band will play at the Air Mobility Command Museum’s D-Day 75th anniversary commemoration Saturday in Dover. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — The goal is to capture the essence of the World War II era, especially June 5 and 6, 1944.

The Air Mobility Command hosts a 75th anniversary commemoration of D-Day on Friday and Saturday and there’s plenty to see and experience.

The showpiece is the C-47 Skytrain That’s All, Brother that led 800 allied aircraft in dropping two United States airborne divisions into France as D-Day commenced. Former paratroopers George Shenkle and Joseph Morettini will travel from their Pennsylvania homes to share their D-Day experiences.

That’s All, Brother will fly above the AMC Museum around 11 a.m. Saturday and visitors can tour inside the C-47 from noon to 3 p.m. that day. Tours of the plane will also be given from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Organizers hoped to get the aircraft to Dover Air Force Base nearer to the invasion dates, but it’s scheduled to head to Normandy for further appearances and has been traveling to various East Coast locations.

The AMC’s C-47, that has been on exhibit for 30 years, rolled off the assembly line within two days of the That’s All, Brother.

“They haven’t been this close since (leaving for Europe),” said Michael Hurlburt, operations manager at the AMC Museum.

Multiple flybys are also planned for Saturday. Recreations of military briefings will cover the execution of the massive invasion.

Scheduled to play from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the Milford-based Smooth Sound Big Band is tasked with getting attendees in the swing of things. The 18-member group was “very surprised, honored and excited to perform when we got a call,” said musical director/conductor Tony Perrone.

The band, formed in 1990, includes four trombones, six trumpets, five saxophones, piano, bass and drums. Three Andrews Sisters lookalikes will perform a trio of tunes popular during the war time 1940s.

Smooth Sound Big Band’s set includes recreations of legendary big band swing musician Glenn Miller who served in World War II as commander of the Army Air Force Band.

“I’m a big fan of Glenn Miller,” Mr. Perrone said. “He was very patriotic and could build morale for those who were serving overseas.”

Smooth Sound will also salute the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard with a mix of service ballads.

All events are free to the public with the gates opening at 9 a.m. D-Day-related items will be available for purchase in the AMC’s gift shop. Food is available for purchase from vendors. A kids zone will also be open.

There is limited parking at the museum and military identification cards will allow entrance to Dover Air Force Base. Parking is available at the motorcycle training lot. From there, attendees can walk to the museum via the south ramp open area.

The 436 Airlift Wing and the AMC Museum Foundation played a large role in supporting the commemoration activities.

For any questions, contact Mr. Hurlburt at 677-3855 or email operationsmanager@amcmuseum.org.

Schedule of Events

Air Mobility Command Museum, 1301 Heritage Road, Dover Air Force Base

Friday museum hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: C-47 Skytrain, That’s All, Brother, will be open to the public (access through the AMC Museum)
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Museum static display aircraft will be open

Saturday museum hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• 8:50 a.m.: Welcome
• 9 a.m.: Normandy Briefings (in main hangar)
• 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Re-enactors (Outside)
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Museum static display aircraft opened for tours
• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Flyovers of C-47 That’s All, Brother, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, and a C-5M Super Galaxy
• 2:30 p.m.: Normandy Briefings (in main hangar)
• Noon to 3 p.m.: C-47 Skytrain, That’s All, Brother, will be open to the public (access through the AMC Museum)
• 3:15 to 4 p.m.: Free dance lessons (and pay as you go bar)
• 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Swing Dance (outside pavilion near museum’s C-5A Galaxy)
• Two former D-Day veteran paratroopers who jumped out of the museum’s C-47 Skytrain will be in attendanc

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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