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Tuskegee Airmen's Plane Takes Final Flight

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Capt. Matthew Quay is a former bomber pilot who bought the damaged plane on eBay and restored it over three years with help from his wife.
Armando Trull
Capt. Matthew Quay is a former bomber pilot who bought the damaged plane on eBay and restored it over three years with help from his wife.

Nearly 100 surviving veterans of the Tuskegee Air Corps gathered in Washington to mark their 70th anniversary. The reunion coincides with the donation of an important piece of their history to the Smithsonian museum.

Six years ago Air Force Captain Matthew Quay bought a badly damaged crop duster, on E-bay, never knowing it was a piece of history.

He later learned 1944 biplane was one of the few surviving planes used to train the legendary Tuskegee Airmen; African- American soldiers who broke racial barriers in World War II by becoming the first blacks to fly planes.

"My wife and I sat down and talked about it and we decided to dedicate the airplane in their honor and we thought, well, what should we name the airplane, and Spirit of Tuskegee came up," said Quay.

The restored plane brought back memories for Col. Leo Gray, a Tuskegee airman.

"It was a wonderful experience especially the first time you went up by yourself, my instructor said let me out of this thing, go kill yourself," said Gray.

Quay planned to do a flyover salute down the Potomac over the 80 surviving Tuskegee veterans. He's donated the plane to the Smithsonian museum of African American history.


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