435th Troop Carrier Group during D-day
The idea for this part of my website came out from some of the materials I had received over the years. Most was received during the research into the Battle of Burp Gun Corner (see book pages of this website). The stories nd information on these pages are details of what happened to the Group. Some parts will look similar for each Squadron and for other members
Part 2. A 78th Troop Carrier Squadron glider on D-day - the Howard Parks story
1st Lt. Howard P. Parks and F/O Marcus C. Noble would fly a Horsa glider to Normandy on June 6.
The Horsa was named “Maja” by Lt. Parks and had tail number 3G4949.
They were flying in position number 9, and thus had chalk number 9.
The Horsa was towed by C-47 43-15108 which was crewed by:
Capt. Charles K. Boyd (P)
1st Lt. Paul C. Joyslin (CP)
1st Lt. John P. Kavooras (N)
T/Sgt. Clifford L. Bullen (CC)
S/Sgt. John J. O’Neil (RO)
They carries 7 glider men of the 320th Glider Field Artillery Bn., 82nd Airborne Division. These men were:
Capt. Paul H. Brock Jr. (Commanding Officer Battery A)
S/Sgt. Cecil Higgins
Sgt. Stanley Wesley Jr.
Cpl. Edward E. White
Cpl. Douglas E. Grey
Pfc. Herbert J. McComas (Battery Clerk)
Pfc. O. J. Wilkenson
Our briefing was very much in detail with aerial photographs showing our landing zone and landing glider obstacles in our area were numerous but our LZ was supposed to be free of such obstacles. As I recall there were many flooded areas in the general vicinity.
The flight was uneventful and the weather not too bad. I do not recall any take-off instance in our group. Through there may have been some I do not recall any. The course en-route was
Fighter protection was excellent. Our LZ was changed when we were approximately 10 minutes from the LZ as I recall. Our LZ was changed to Ste.-Mere-Eglise.
Our take-off time was 2042 on 6 June 1944 and landing time was 2305 hours. As I recall we landed on time and immediately on landing or as soon as we could gather our wits darkness was on us. However, during our pattern and landing it was twillight and we could see the outline of the field. I made a 270 degree approach and pattern landing into the wind damaged the glider somewhat but none of the personnel or equipment was damaged. We had anti-aircraft together with small arms fire as we crossed the coast and approached our LZ. Proably most of the fire was small arms or machine gun fire since our approach altitude was 500 feet. Our glider was hit by some small arms fire and we could see the tracers since it was becoming dark.
There was very little conversation among the passengers and I believe that we were all just numb and resigned to what fate held for us. Our gross weight was over 15,000 pounds. I recall F/O Noble, the co-pilot, reading the air speed to me as we were making the approach. I do recall my calling out the figure 65 which amazed me that we were still airborne at such speed and frankly, our landing was as I recall about 15 feet off the ground and drop straight in. Our roll on landing was practically nil.
The load consisted of a jeep and trailer with communication equipment. After landing we all walked away. Immediately after landing there was much fire from both sides of our glider. Fortunately, on one side and closest to our glider was some paratroopers in a trench who were firing to hold off the enemy and give us the opportunity to crawl to the trench where we spent the night with the airborne.
Left: Lt. Howard Parks posses in front of his glider named MAJA, after his wife and his son.
Right: In 1945 Howard Parks returned to the field where he landed. The steel tubings of his Horsa glider were still in the field that day. (Both pics via Parks family)
Glider pilots of the 78th TCS who have returned from Normandy.Standing left to right: F/O Tom Ward, 2nd Lt. Fritz Wilson, F/O Bob Stone, 2nd Lt. Solomon Belinky, F/O Burnis Watts and 2nd Lt. Earl Davis.
Front row left to right: F/O John Meyer, F/O Bill Jones, 1st Lt. Howard Parks, F/O Mark W. Noble, F/O William Szabelski and F/O Harry M. Prichard.
(H. Parks photo)