Tuskegee Airmen Plane Enters Smithsonian

August 5, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — Retired Lt. Col. Leo R. Gray, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, stands next to “The Spirit of Tuskegee,” a World War II-era plane at end of a cross-country flight to its new home at the Smithsonian, at Andrews Air Force Base. The PT-13 Stearman open-cockpit biplane was used as a trainer plane for the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Decommissioned in 1946, used for decades as a crop duster and damaged in a crash, it was purchased at public auction and restored over the course of three years by Capt. Matthew Quy, a former B-52 bomber pilot who deploys to Afghanistan later this month, and his wife, Tina. It is one of the few surviving planes with ties to Moton Field and Tuskegee Institute, a segregated facility in Tuskegee, Ala., where nearly 1,000 black pilots were trained to fly escort for bombing missions over North Africa and Italy.

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