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The B-17 "Memphis Belle" and crew. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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"Memphis Belle" moves to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Posted 8/31/2005   Updated 9/20/2006 Email story   Print story


by Rob Bardua
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

8/31/2005 - DAYTON, Ohio -- A national aviation treasure and widely recognized symbol of American bravery and heroism during World War II is being relocated to the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum.

The B-17F "Memphis Belle," the first aircraft to complete 25 successful bombing missions in Europe with all of its crew-members intact, will be moved to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, under the terms of an agreement between the Memphis Belle Memorial Association and the U.S. Air Force.

The aircraft, which has been located in the Memphis, Tenn., area since 1946, was on loan from the Air Force to volunteers and aviation enthusiasts until the 1980s when the association became its leaseholder.

The move to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will allow the Air Force to share the Memphis Belle's story of the determination and perseverance of America and her allies in defeating the Axis threat with millions of visitors from around the world.

According to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Director, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles D. Metcalf, the Memphis Belle Memorial Association deserves to be commended for providing nearly 60 years 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 and aerospace vehicles, will continue the restoration of the Memphis Belle at the museum. The effort will begin upon the aircraft's arrival and is expected to take several years to complete.

For more information on the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, please visit or call (937) 255-3286.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact the National Museum of the United States Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-4704, ext. 330.

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