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Thu, Sep 02, 2004

Japanese Zero Joins Wright-Pat Museum Collection

The embodiment of Japanese air power and kamikaze suicide attacks during World War II, a restored Japanese Zero, returned to the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.

Commercial workers recently completed a one-year restoration of the aircraft for the museum. They disassembled the aircraft to move it to the museum and reassembled the plane for permanent display after its arrival.

The A6M2 Zero bolsters an already formidable cast of World War II aircraft on display in the museum's Air Power Gallery. Widely regarded as the most famous of Japanese military aircraft, the Zero performed as the arch nemesis of Allied aircraft in the Pacific theater during the first half of the war.

"The Zero is the ultimate symbol of Japanese air power in the Pacific in World War II," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director. "It participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and was later used on kamikaze raids against Allied ships. The addition of the Zero adds a key element to the World War II storyline we present to our visitors."

The Japanese abandoned the museum's Zero in Kavieng, New Ireland, during World War II. The aircraft is marked to appear as a section leader's Zero from the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Zuiho during the Battle of Bismarck Sea in spring 1943.

The U.S. Army Air Force's use of superior armament, innovative tactics and more capable fighters later in the war ended the Zero's dominance, officials said. With 10,815 built, the Zero was produced in larger numbers than any other Japanese aircraft during the war. [ANN Thanks Chris McGee, USAF Museum Public Affairs]

FMI: www.af.mil

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