“We can never forget what these Airmen did,” he said.
The aircraft’s restoration began in 2005, said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Hudson, museum director.
“The Memphis Belle becomes the B-17F aircraft of record for our United States Air Force,” he said.
“This is one of the big reasons why we are here,” Hudson said.
Surrounding the aircraft is a new Strategic Bombardment exhibit featuring a digitally animated map of the strategic bombing campaign; two Medals of Honor; items worn and used on significant missions; artifacts from bombing campaign leaders; a bomber top turret and ball turret; and intriguing photos.
Additional events during the three-day exhibit opening celebration include a flyover of WWII-era aircraft, along with more than 160 reenactors and 30 vintage military and civilian vehicles on the museum grounds.
On May 17, the public was able to visit the historic aircraft, exactly 75 years after its crew finished their last mission in the war against Nazi Germany on May 17, 1943.