This story is truly about watching history come to life. In May of 1945, while on a mission to liberate a concentration camp in Austria, the "Dottie May", a P-47 Thunderbolt went down in a lake, never to be seen again for nearly sixty years. And now you can see the historic World War II plane right here in the Treasure Valley.
The war in Europe was almost over, but there was still plenty of work for the Allied forces to do. For one, they had to make sure the Nazi's didn't take their anger out on our P.O.W.'S. Bob Nightengale project manager to retrieve the plane described the recovery effort. "We ended up with several teams and scoured the lake. We found it on the bottom, and started the recovery of it." But it wasn't going to be easy. Nightengale describes the challenges of getting up in one piece. "As it was leaving the bottom, since it was upside down, the first thing we saw was the word May, and as the silt slid off the side of it, we could see the nose ark."
When the historic plane was safe and sound, Nightengale and his team knew what they had just accomplished. "We were excited, happy, so we celebrated."
And now you can see this rare and fully restored P-47 Thunderbolt fly again at the Warhawk Museum the weekend of August 26th and 27th.