Tunison Foundation, Inc.
Placid Lassie




 

World War II: Training and D-DAY

Flight Crew

    PILOT ............................1st Lt. Richard H. Lum
    CO-PILOTS ...................1st Lt. Ralph C. Lundgren
                                            1st Lt. Merton E. Eckert
    NAVIGATOR.................1st Lt. William E. Vaughn
    RADIO OPERATOR .....Staff Sargent Ed Tunison
    CREW CHIEF ...............T/Sgt. Eddie A. Apodaca


The crew named her “Placid Lassie.” They named the left engine “Idling Ada” after the crew chief’s wife and named the right engine “Eager Eileen” after the Radio Operator’s wife. The Squadron marking was ID and she had a radio call sign of N.

The same flight crew flew the her for the duration of the war with one substitution. After NEPTUNE Lt. Lundgren was promoted to be the pilot of his own C-47 (ID-G), but he was killed during MARKET-GARDEN on 19 Sep 1944 when his plane crashed.

Left to Right: Apodaca, Vaughn, Eckert, Lum, Tunison



1st LT Merton E. Eckert

1st LT Ralph C. Lungren

1st LT William W Vaughn
1st LT Richard H. Lum

1st LT Richard H. Lum


Training

A practice mission was flown on 11 Aug 1943 from Alliance, NE towing gliders and parachutists to drop on Fort Robinson Military Reservation (northeast Nebraska). It is likely that Placid Lassie flew this mission. On 30 and 31 August 1943 the entire 74th TCS camped out near Hot Springs, SD to practice living in the field. Again, Placid Lassie was likely involved in the transport.

Upon return from the exercise 74th relocated to Baer Field, Fort Wayne, IN to prepare for overseas movement. September 1943 was spent overhauling and repairing aircraft and other wise getting ready.


Wartime photo from 74th TCS album


Overseas Movement

September 1943 the 434th was given orders to move to the UK. Sister squadrons 71st TCS, 72nd TCS (18 September) and 73rd TCS (24 September) flew the North Atlantic route via Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Then winter closed the northern route. The 74th flew the South Atlantic route. Placid Lassie and the other 12 C-47s of the 74th took off at 8:30am from Bear Field on 28 Sept 1943 and flew to Morrison Field (West Palm Beach, FL). From there their route was:

  • Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico
  • Atkinson Field, British Guiana
  • Val de Caes Field, Belem, Brazil
  • Parnamirim Field, Natal, Brazil
  • Wideawake Air Field, Ascension Island
  • Roberts Air Field, Monrovia, Liberia
  • Mallard Field, Dakar, Senegal
  • Menara Airport, Marrakech, French Morocco
  • St. Margaret (location unknown)
  • Army Air Forces Station 488 (Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, England)
The 74th TCS arrived on 18 October 1943. Their twenty day journey had encountered ten days of unflyable weather.


The 74th TCS ground echelon left Baer Field for Camp Kilmer, NJ (likely by rail) on 1 Oct 1943. They then went to Brooklyn, NY and crossed over the Atlantic on the Queen Mary landing in Gurroch, Scotland on 17 Oct 1943. They arrived in Fulbeck, England on 13 Nov 1943.

On 13 November the 434th TCG moved to Welford Park, Berkshire and conducted maneuvers with the 101st Airborne Division. The next two months was jam packed with practicing dropping parachutists and towing gliders. The 74th returned to Fulbeck on 5 Jan 1944.

Placid Lassie's story continues:
 






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