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World War II veteran ‘Rosie the Rocketer’ Piper L-4 joining Warbirds display during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023


Maj. Charles Carpenter alongside Rosie the Rocketer (Photo courtesy of Carol Apacki)

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (April 20, 2023) — A historic fabric-covered Piper L-4 Cub, nicknamed Rosie the Rocketer which had some of the most fascinating exploits of any small aircraft during World War II, will be part of this year’s Warbirds display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. The 70th edition of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s fly-in convention is July 24-30 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The airplane became famous during the war when Maj. Charles Carpenter attached six bazookas to the aircraft and began attacking German tanks and armor while assigned to General Patton’s Third Army. “Bazooka Charlie,” as Carpenter became known, had documented armor kills while the aircraft was preserved with its original bullet holes and other battle scars. The aircraft was found in Austria in 2017 and restored to flying condition by Colin Powers in late 2020. It is currently owned by the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts.

“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,” said Jim Busha, EAA’s vice president of publications, who with Carpenter’s daughter, Carol Apacki, recently completed a book on the exploits of the pilot and aircraft titled Bazooka Charlie: The unbelievable story of Major Charles Carpenter and Rosie the Rocketer. “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 Carpenter, a high school teacher and football coach turned wartime pilot, became acclaimed by journalists of the time, including by the Stars & Stripes military newspaper. He also overcame Hogdkin’s lymphoma as well as personal demons following his wartime service.

Apacki, Busha and Rob Collings of the Collings Foundation are all scheduled to be in Oshkosh to talk about Carpenter and the aircraft. They will appear at various events, including a Warbirds in Review forum next to the famed aircraft. Exact times and locations of those appearances will be posted as they are finalized.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s membership convention. Additional information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available at www.EAA.org/airventure. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.EAA.org. For continual news updates, connect with Twitter.com/EAA.

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