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1st Lt Earl Rigsby, C-47 pilot 76th Troop Carrier Squadron and Pathfinder Group


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Uniform grouping belonging to 1st Lt Earl E Rigsby, 76th Troop Carrier Squadron, 435th Troop Carrier Group. 1st Lt Rigsby from Atlanta, GA was a C-47 pilot and participated on D-Day towing a glider as part of Mission Elmira Serial 33 from Welford Airfield. His combat time continued with the 76th TCS flying two missions (Glider tow and resupply) during Op Dragoon - The invasion of Southern France.

 

On the 17th of September 1944, he woud drop paratroopers over Holland as part of Op Market Garden and then two days later he would tow a CG-4A glider to Holland.

 

At the end of November 1944, 1st Lt Rigsby would be selected to go on Detached Service to the IX TCC Pathfinder Group, 3rd Squadron. Based at Chalgrove Airfield in Oxfordshire (STN-465).

 

Exactly 75 years ago, on the 23rd of December 1944, the Pathfinder Group were tasked with one of the first resupply drops over Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. They first departed Chalgrove to Membury to be loaded with the parapacks and began departing for Bastogne in small groups. This proved to be a disastrous decision as after the first few small groups of C-47's had dropped their supplies, the German anti-aircraft batteries were ready and waiting and the remaining Pathfinder C-47's were badly hit. Luckily none were shot down over Bastogne but the majority of the serial had to perform emergency landings at various allied airfields.

 

1st Lt Rigsby would remain with the Pathfinders till the end of the war.

 

His jacket is one of my prized possessions.

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All Airborne Troop Carrier items wanted especially uniform groupings and unit history books. Anything considered!!

 

Collector and researcher of IX Troop Carrier Command. Visit my Facebook page to see the research and collection.

 

http://www.facebook.com/IXtroopcarriercommand

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  • 2 weeks later...

That is a really nice uniform and story... A real hero if you ask me... I was in Bastogne a couple of weeks ago and the C-47 guys were well remembered, as it should! Thank you for showing this uniform!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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