There was a World War II reunion of sorts this week in Santa Maria, Calif., as three Army veterans came together.
Frank Goins, a flight officer with the U.S. Army Air Corps, Bindo Grasso of Guadalupe, a paratrooper with the U.S. Army who served in France in the months following D-Day, and a Douglas C-47B Skytrain were brought together by a restoration of the venerable aircraft that many Army veterans fondly dubbed a Gooney Bird.
The group, associated with the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, just finished restoring the plane at ArtCraft Paint at the Santa Maria Public Airport. The volunteers and the craftsmen at ArtCraft carefully restored the plane to its flat, dull green and gray camouflage look.
“It’s a wonderful airplane. A combination of pilots and engineers developed this airplane, so it’s a pilot’s airplane,” said the 91-year-old Goins, who traveled from his Modesto home in hope of flying in the plane from the Central Coast to Chino, where it will visit the Lightning Strike Chino air show.
“When I first went over there, yeah, I flew out of England. Got in on the coast of France on runways that were as slick as glass,” he said.
For the complete story by Brian Bullock of the Santa Maria Times, click here.