One of the most recognizable symbols of World War II will once again report for duty exactly 75 years after its crew finished their last mission in the war against Nazi Germany on May 17, 1943. Plans call for the aircraft to be placed on permanent public display in the WWII Gallery of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on May 17, 2018. The new exhibit surrounding the Memphis BelleTM will include interactive displays, rare archival film footage and many personal artifacts which have never been seen before by our visitors.
The famed B-17F Memphis Belle and its crew became iconic symbols of the heavy bomber crews and support personnel who helped defeat Nazi Germany. The Memphis Belle was the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the United States after completing 25 combat missions over Europe during World War II. The USAAF chose the aircraft for a highly-publicized war bond tour from June-August 1943, and its crew was celebrated as national heroes. The aircraft and crew were also the subject of two widely-seen Hollywood movies (one in 1944 and another in 1990).
The three-day celebratory event (May 17-19, 2018) will include three B-17 Flying Fortresses, six P-51 Mustangs, and three WWII-era trainer aircraft on static display; a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Memphis Belle and Strategic Bombing Exhibits; more than 160 WWII military and home front reenactors; 30 vintage military and civilian vehicles; a Big Band Concert; book signings; and both Memphis Belle films featuring guest speakers in the Air Force Museum Theatre. Activities will be both inside and outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Click here for the Fact Sheet to learn more about the aircraft.