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Memphis Belle on the move

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A national aviation treasure and symbol of American bravery and heroism during World War Two is being relocated to the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum. Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle is recognized as the first bomber to complete 25 missions over Europe. The aircraft will be moved to the National Museum of the US Air Force at WrightPatterson AFB under the terms of an agreement between the Memphis Belle. Memorial Association and the USAF.

Located in Memphis since 1946, the Flying Fortress was on loan from the USAF to volunteers and aviation enthusiasts until the 1980s when the association became its lease holder. The move to Dayton will allow the USAF to share the Memphis Belle's history with millions of visitors.

According to museum director Charles Metcalf, the Memphis BeUe Memorial Association deserves to be commended for providing nearly 60-yrs of care for the aircraft and looks forward to displaying the aircraft as the centerpiece of the museum's WWII collection."

"It will be a tremendous honor to display an aircraft such as the Memphis Belle, which is a source of such great national pride and historical significance," said Metcalf. "We will give it a level of care and public visibility befitting its legacy to ensure that future generations will learn about the heroism and bravery of its crew."

The museum's restoration team, which maintains more than 300 aircraft, will continue the restoration of the Memphis BeEe at the museum. The effort will begin upon the aircraft's arrival and is expected to take several years to complete.

(C) 2005 Air Classics. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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