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Glider Pilot Casualties

Lt. Col. Michael "Mike" C. Murphy (center), a pre-World War II stunt pilot who later directed the AAF glider pilot training program. He developed new tow techniques, assisted in the planning for the D-Day invasion of France and led the gliders into Normandy. Here, while preparing for medical evacuation to the United States, he received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in the crash of the glider during the Normandy Invasion. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. Michael "Mike" C. Murphy (center), a pre-World War II stunt pilot who later directed the AAF glider pilot training program. He developed new tow techniques, assisted in the planning for the D-Day invasion of France and led the gliders into Normandy. Here, while preparing for medical evacuation to the United States, he received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in the crash of the glider during the Normandy Invasion. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Glider pilots suffered heavy combat losses as did the pilots of tow planes and the airborne troops which the gliders carried. They were towed in flimsy, noisy, unarmed, fabric-covered gliders at about 130 mph at the end of a 300-foot, 1-inch nylon rope in air made turbulent by the tow planes. They sometimes crash-landed at night in small fields behind enemy lines, carrying troops and/or cargo including jeeps and artillery. Glider pilots received training in infantry combat tactics since after landing they sometimes fought as infantry.

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Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

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