WWII plane still helping troops overseas

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - It's a rare sight, but a 1943 Douglas C-47 spent the weekend at Sulphur's Southland field. The old military plane was primarily used as a transport unit for paratroopers and cargo during World War II.

Nearly 70 years later the large plane is still a work horse. Owner and pilot John Kiedinger said it's now used for research and development of IED technology for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We test equipment that's going to go on a remotely piloted vehicle and we can fly it on this and have 10 technicians sitting in the back with their computers and try to get the equipment working right before they actually put it on something that is unmanned. It is a lot easier to work on an airplane where you can put your hands on it," said Kiedinger. "It feels good to know we are helping the troops overseas. It's good work. Makes you feel good. We enjoy the work."

While the plane is mainly for work, Kiedinger said he and several friends were down here for the weekend fishing speckled trout and redfish. The planed landed at Southland Field on Friday and workers there have been admiring the old bird all weekend.

According to Kiedinger the plane has also done mission work for churches in South America. Kiedinger said the plane never left the United States in World War II, but has served it's country well.

"During World War II it may have never left the U.S. but it did help some of the rookie pilots. It landed on its belly a couple of times. The young pilots would make mistakes and it landed on it's belly. It's among a dying fleet. Every year there or fewer and fewer. It's nearly 70 years old and we hope to keep it work for another 70 years," said Kiedinger.

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