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Mon, Apr 24, 2023

“Rosie the Rocketer” Piper L-4 to Feature at Oshkosh 2023

Classic Aircraft Joining EAA Warbirds Display

An historic, fabric-covered Piper L-4 Cub, dubbed Rosie the Rocketer will be among the Warbirds featured at the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. The little L-4 Cub’s wartime exploits are astounding, comprising equal measures of madness, desperation, and American ingenuity.

2023 occasions the 70th anniversary of the EAA’s annual fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Wittman Regional Airport (OSH). The event’s platinum jubilee will pack a veritable riot of aviation-related attractions—to include aircraft static and flight displays, military and civilian aerial demonstration teams, aerospace vendors, comestibles, libations, and fellowship—into the days spanning 24 to 30 July.

The Piper L-4 Cub known as Rosie the Rocketer won fame during the Second World War when Major Charles Carpenter, while assigned to American General George S. Patton’s Third Army, attached six bazookas to the wee plane and got down to the unlikely business—for a Piper Cub—of attacking German tanks and armor. “Bazooka Charlie,” as Carpenter came to be known, scored documented armor kills. His airplane was preserved with its original complement of German bullet-holes and ancillary battle scars. In 2017, the aircraft was found in Austria and, over the ensuing three-years, restored to flying condition by Colin Powers. Currently, Rosie the Rocketer is owned by the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts.

EAA vice-president of publications Jim Busha stated: “The further one explores the story of Rosie the Rocketer and Charles Carpenter, it’s obvious that this airplane behind the ‘urban legend’ will be truly appreciated at AirVenture.”

Mr. Busha, with input from Charles Carpenter’s daughter, Carol Apacki, recently completed a book titled Bazooka Charlie: The unbelievable story of Major Charles Carpenter and Rosie the Rocketer, which chronicles the exploits of the war-hero pilot and his surprising aircraft.

Mr. Busha added: “While much deserved attention goes to the big bombers and fighter aircraft in the Warbirds area, an airplane such as this with a deep personal story attached will certainly be a highlight at Oshkosh this year.”

The experiences of Major Charles Carpenter, a high school teacher and football coach turned wartime pilot, were acclaimed by wartime journalists, including those slinging ink for the U.S. military newspaper Stars & Stripes. In addition to besting the Nazi enemy, Major Carpenter overcame both Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the demons born of war’s horrors.

Mrs. Apacki, Mr. Busha, and Rob Collings of the Collings Foundation are scheduled, one and all, to be at Oshkosh 2023 for purpose of talking about Major Carpenter and his storied aircraft. The trio will appear at various events, including a “Warbirds in Review” forum to be held adjacent the famed aircraft. Exact times and locations of subject appearances will be posted as they are finalized.

FMI: www.eaa.org

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