LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Monday marks the 67th anniversary of D-day. The Silent Wings Museum kicked off their tributes today. Glider plane pilot, Mel Pliner was in Lubbock to commemorate his time behind enemy lines. Since there was no engine, a larger aircraft towed Pliner's plane through the sky and then released him.
"The idea for the glider plane basically was to take troops and equipment behind enemy lines to cut off their supply, it's either give up or get shot" Pliner explains. On D-day, Pliner took off in a glider that was seven troops too heavy. "I set down at 7 in the morning on wet grass, the tires are sliding on wet grass and I'm still going 70-80 miles an hour" Pliner describes. One lieutenant was injured as a wheel was forced up through the plane's weak floor.
"It's pretty much made of tubular steel plywood and canvas so they are very fragile" Sid Eeles, World War II airborne demonstrator, says.
With the right wing stuck in the ground, the plane was broken, but the troops were ready to join the fight. "They tried to open the door to the side, but since I broke the back they couldn't open the door. We took a fire ax, and had to actually chop the door open" Pliner says.
"It was a monumental event, had we not been able to take a foot hold into Europe who knows where we'd be right now, we could be speaking German or Japanese" Eeles says. Pliner was able to survive a total of five glider missions; his only battle wound was a shot to the wrist.