10-29-11 note: We're now pretty sure the Serial Number of Ken's C-47 is S/N: 42-32898. Yay!
"Ice Road Truckers?!" My friend shouted. "That's not HISTORY!"
The scene was an after-five table at a local watering hole. The issue was The History Channel's decision to persist in their popular show about driving loads across ice while canceling Dogfights - the definitive program that highlighted historical moments in aerial combat.
I even think he slammed his beer on the table for emphasis. CUNK!
Now, your emotion may vary, but my frustrated buddy was arguing from apparent truth. Compared to a swirling duel above Hitler's Germany, an "ice-road truck" doesn't fly!
Truth be told, war is won...not by sexy fighter planes. Nor by burly bombers. But by Logistics. Unsexy. Unburly. Unexciting logistics. And for those who aren't familiar with the term, Logistics is basically this: Hauling stuff to the people that need it.
Patton without fuel? Lame.
The Mighty 8th Air Force without bullets? Toothless.
Wal-Mart® without trucks? Empty.
Have a look at my rough sketch above - it's a Douglas C-47 from the 61st TCG. TCG stands for Troop Carrier Group. Or, in other words. Truckers. The C-47 was the backbone of Allied logistics efforts in WW2. People, fuel, bullets, food, mail - chances are very good that any Allied "Point A" was connected to its "Point B" by a C-47, somewhere along the line.
I'd like to introduce y'all to Ken Salisbury - Radio Operator and some-time Crew Chief in an airplane that has hauled more men, machines and materiele longer, farther and more faithfully than ANY Ice Road Trucker.
Right now, I'm overloaded with the task of finding solid reference material on 59th TCS/61st TCG C-47s but Ken's in great shape and we've harnessed the passion of historians around the world to make sure I deliver the goods - an accurate rendering of one of the C-47s Ken flew in combat.
And combat? Ken was there for it all. And when I mean all, I mean, ALL. He's a veritable History Channel!
Don't touch that dial!