The R4D Cannonball Express

Melody - "Wabash Cannonball"

Alton Lishness

Now listen all my shipmates,
I"ll tell a tale to you,
About some navy pilots
And the plane that they once flew,
They flew down to McMurdo,
For Task Force 43,
They didn't fly an aircraft
They flew an R4D.
Listen to the rattle,
The rumble and the roar,
As we go down the runway
In a beat-up old R-4.
You can feel the airframe shaking,
See the pilot's trembling hand.
If he don't get her airborne,
We'll see the promised land.

2. A bucking and a slipping,
Down the ice we go,
Everone lean forward,
Cause Christ! we're going slow.
Throttles through the firewall,
Fifteen JATOS blasting free,
I've eighteen tons strapped to my back
In this beat-up R4D.

3. I'm sitting in the cockpit,
I can't retract the gear,
I'm running out of airspeed,
This is the end I fear.
So listen all my loved ones,
Please say a prayer for me,
For I'm attached to VX-6,
And a lousy R4D.

4. Creaking down the runway,
What do my poor eyes see?
A hundred corespondents
And the gawdamned NBC.
They've heard about this aircraft,
And they expect the worst.
They'd feel bad, if I crashed in flames,
But, they want to get it first.

In the mid-1930s, Douglas Aircraft introduced the now legendary DC-3/R4D airplane. It quickly became a workhorse for all types of aerial purposes. The scientific stations in the Antarctic relied on this plane for supplies, mail, personnel, and equipment.

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