Navy to Normandy!

Commemorative Air Force and Battleship Texas Honor Navy’s Legacy with Summer Mission to Normandy


Two esteemed Texas-based non-profit organizations, the Battleship Texas Foundation and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), will jointly commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy, commonly known as D-Day, which took place on June 6, 1944, by sending historic artifacts of Battleship Texas on a present-day mission to Normandy. This summer, the CAF will dispatch aircraft to Europe to partake in commemorative events, paying homage to the significance of this pivotal moment in history.

USS Texas with the starboard torpedo blister removed during its recent restoration, revealing the original hull and narrower profile when built; the torpedo blisters were added during the 1926 modernization. Photo via Wikipedia

“It is a privilege for the CAF to attend these important anniversaries, honoring the American spirit’s fight for freedom and aid to those in need. Participation in such events ensures that the memory and significance of our heroes’ brave actions are cherished and preserved for generations to come,” said Hank Coates, President/CEO of the CAF.

The special patch designed for the CAF Dallas Fort Worth Wing by Chad Hill of Django Studios

In collaboration, the CAF has requested that Battleship Texas (BB35), the last remaining United States battleship to serve in both World War I and World War II – seeing action off the coast of North Africa, Normandy, Southern France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa — provide physical components from the hull of the ship that will be flown aboard Ready 4 Duty for the voyage, including a roller bearing and a steel 1945 silhouette figurine of Battleship Texas.

Among the aircraft embarking on the journey is an R4D, the Navy’s counterpart of the C-47 Skytrain, synonymous with D-Day for its role in dropping paratroopers and supplies. The CAF’s R4D, aptly named Ready 4 Duty, will symbolize the Navy’s involvement in the Navy’s role during D-Day, which was called Operation Neptune.

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. Photo via CAF

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Commemorative Air Force during this historic year marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Battleship Texas played a monumental role in Operation Neptune, and we are deeply proud to have a part of her returning to Normandy onboard CAF aircraft,” said Tony Gregory, CEO of Battleship Texas Foundation.

The ship is currently moored at Pier D in Gulf Copper Shipyard, where she will continue to undergo repairs and preparations to become a museum ship once again!

On April 27, the R4D Ready 4 Duty aircraft will fly into Galveston to collect the artifacts bound for Normandy, followed by a ceremonial flyover of the battleship around noon, weather permitting. “Partnerships like these epitomize the incredible opportunities we have to preserve the legacies of our forebears who fought bravely to safeguard our freedoms. When we unite to honor their stories, the impact is profound,” said Matt Pham, Vice President of Development at Battleship Texas Foundation.

The two organizations invite the public to join the partnership. Spots onboard VIP flyovers of the Battleship Texas and Galveston Island are available as well as owning a piece of the Battleship to be flown over the beaches in Normandy as a part of the 80th anniversary festivities this summer. For more information about this event and how to take part in this partnership, please visit

About the Battleship Texas Foundation The mission of the Battleship Texas Foundation is to preserve and enhance the USS Texas (BB-35) and develop this historic ship into a premier museum and visitor attraction. It is the last remaining United States battleship to serve in both World War I and World War II. During World War II, the ship saw action off the coast of North Africa, Normandy, Southern France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Decommissioned in 1948, she has operated as a museum ship for visitors across the globe. Managed and operated by the foundation, she is currently undergoing a $75 million restoration and museum overhaul at Gulf Copper Shipyard in Galveston.

About the R4D Ready 4 Duty Constructed 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 Skytrain. After serving in various capacities, including airlifting wounded service members, and evaluating experimental electronic warfare technologies, the Commemorative Air Force acquired the aircraft and now serves with the CAF’s Dallas/Fort Worth Wing based in Lancaster, Texas.



  1. Operation Neptune was the airborne drop that preceded the beach landings, and it never was the codename of the Navy’s involvement in D-Day.

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