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‘Memphis Belle’ replica brought to Utah for Memorial Day

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Posted at 6:38 PM, May 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-26 20:38:50-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- A piece of World War II history flew into Utah Monday to honor veterans on Memorial Day.

The revered "Memphis Belle" B-17 bomber landed at the South Valley Regional Airport.

The “Memphis Belle” was the first B-17 heavy bomber to complete its assigned combat tour with her crew intact.

It was one of 12,000 planes like it, most of which flew high-altitude missions over Germany and Japan.

“There are only 8 airplanes out of 12,000 that fly at all. And only four of those fly on a regular basis. It's a very unique experience,” said Chris Tuckfield a volunteer pilot for the Liberty Foundation.

Eighty-nine-year-old Sam Wyrouck was a gunner during the war.  He remembers being cramped, cold and claustrophobic on the B-17. And though he said he proudly enlisted, it didn't make it any less scary.

“I remember my friend told me he said, 'today I had a dry run.' And I said, 'we didn't have a dry run.' He said ‘no, that isn't what I mean.’ He said, 'no I mean this time I didn't wet my pants,'” laughed Wyrouck.

This plane is a replica and was the B-17 used in the Hollywood movie "Memphis Belle" and is now 71 years old.

The Liberty Foundation flies the plane around the country to get people interested in history and aviation.

The restored Memphis Belle is on display this week at the South Valley Regional Airport.