Phillips 66 gives lift to epic warplane on its return to Normandy

By Bernardo Fallas
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

Seventy-five years after it led the airborne assault on D-Day, That’s All, Brother is flying to Normandy for one more crucial mission — and Phillips 66 is helping it get there.

The iconic World War II C-47 plane is retracing the epic journey over the Atlantic to participate in milestone celebrations of the Normandy landings June 2-9 in the U.K. and France, thanks in part to a donation by Phillips 66 Lubricants.

"We understand how important it is to keep aircraft like this flying and keep the memories and history of the Greatest Generation alive," Phillips 66 Lubricants General Manager Scott McRee said.

That’s All, Brother, restored and flown by the Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing based in San Marcos, Texas, will join 15 other American C-47s and DC-3s, the civilian version of the aircraft, as part of a monumental effort to honor the service and sacrifice of those who fought on the beaches of Normandy and beyond. The fleet also includes the Miss Montana, another plane Phillips 66 is supporting through a joint effort by its General Aviation and Lubricants businesses.

"We are so grateful to Phillips 66 for the support they are providing for That’s All, Brother and crew," said CAF wing leader Joe Enzminger. "This mission is only made possible with the help of businesses and individuals who appreciate the value and importance of an event such as this."

D-Day proved a turning point during World War II as it launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe and paved the way to, in time, a decisive victory by the Allies.

More than 800 C-47/DC-3s, led by That’s All, Brother under the command of Lt. Col. John Donalson, flew 24,000 mostly U.S., British and Canadian paratroopers in the early hours of June 6, 1944. The largest amphibious assault in history followed soon after along a 60-mile stretch of coastline, with more than 160,000 Allied troops storming five beaches in Normandy.

For the anniversary, That’s All, Brother and the rest of the American warbirds, dubbed D-Day Squadron, are flying to Duxford, England, with stopovers in Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland, retracing the route used 75 years ago. From Duxford, they will fly with other C-47/DC-3s from around the world across the English Channel, a highlight of the Daks over Normandy celebrations.

For Phillips 66, supporting That’s All, Brother and Miss Montana, for which its General Aviation business is supplying fuel and its Lubricants team is supplying aviation engine oil and hydraulic oil, was the right thing to do.

"Phillips 66 contributed many significant advancements during the war, including a high-octane fuel to increase power and efficiency for long-range flight," Phillips 66 General Aviation Manager Lindsey Grant said. "We’re excited to celebrate and honor all of the heroes and veterans that served, as well as the role aviation played in the Allied victory."

Miss Montana, which is housed at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Montana, never engaged in combat, its completion date coming at the end of the war.

That’s All, Brother, which flew commercially for decades after the war, was destined for scrap until two Air Force historians found it at a boneyard in Wisconsin in 2015. The CAF acquired the plane and, through the generosity of donors and hard work of volunteers, spent the next three or so years restoring it.

When Lubricants Territory Manager Andrew Kiefer McNeill heard of the plane’s history, he knew he had to get Phillips 66 involved.

"We had a chance to support a good cause." Kiefer McNeill said. "Phillips 66 had been there — we supported the war effort. We did it then, and we needed to do it again."

The significance — and urgency — of having That’s All, Brother in Normandy could not be overstated.

"This will be the last major anniversary of D-Day for many veterans," Enzminger said. "It is important to be there."