Restored WWII aircraft Memphis Belle makes museum debut

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Belle, a now-fully restored World War II bomber, was officially unveiled at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Seventy-five years after its last bombing run in World War II, the newly-restored B-17F bomber is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Ohio.

The B-17F bomber was unveiled Wednesday at a private event honoring family members of the Memphis Belle crew.

"To restore the aircraft and design, develop, and produce the exhibit took years, many years of planning, attention to detail and hard work," said U.S. Air Force Lt. General John Hudson.

After its wartime service, the Memphis Belle was also the subject of a documentary and a 1990 Hollywood movie.

WMC5 spoke to Memphis historian Jimmy Ogle about how the plane ended up in the Bluff City, eventually on display at Mud Island River Park.

"Post-World War II, there was a group of Memphians visited the B-17 graveyard in Oklahoma and decided to fly back one day so they kind of kidnapped it and flew it back to Memphis," Ogle said.

So, who is the woman behind the name?

"The Memphis Belle name itself is the girlfriend of Colonel Morgan back in the 1940s. She was from Memphis," Ogle said.

The plane was moved to Ohio in 2005 after being on display for decades in Memphis where the plane deteriorated in an outdoor display.

"Got to savor the victories, and be a little bit sad on the losses, it's not lost, it's on display where millions of people will see it every year," Ogle said. "It's one of the top three planes in the country."

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