P-51 Memorial Honors Iowa's Tuskegee Airmen

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Iowa's members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II have been honored with a memorial at the Des Moines Air National Guard Base. The memorial, a full-size replica of a P-51 Mustang fighter painted in the colors of the Airmen, was dedicated recently at a ceremony attended by seven Iowa Tuskegee Airmen and two widows of former members, the Sioux City Journal reported this week. The P-51 is part of a new 4.6-acre Fort Des Moines Memorial Park and Education Center, and will be mounted in its permanent position at the main gate of the base next spring. The park will open in the fall of 2003. The P-51s flown by the Tuskegee Airmen and other fighter groups were used as fighter escorts to protect B-17 bombers on their long-range bombing missions. The Tuskegee Airmen had the unique distinction of having never lost a bomber under their protection.