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MAPS dedicates new display

6/26/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Photo courtesy of Douglas Perry
GREEN — The Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) hosted a dedication ceremony to honor a member June 21.

Officials from the organization, the City of Green and the Akron-Canton Airport were on hand to mark the recent installation of a restored P-51 Mustang fighter plane at the entrance to the facility.

The P-51 was installed to honor MAPS member and pilot Lt. Robert Withee, of Jackson Township, and other World War II pilots, as well as the 112 Fighter Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard stationed at MAPS that flew the P-51s from the airport before moving its base to Toledo, according to MAPS Executive Director Kim Kovesci.

Kovesci said Withee flew a similar aircraft in World War II, shot down four Japanese aircrafts and received two Purple Hearts for his actions.

He added the P-51 they are displaying was a damaged molded model donated by a Cleveland aviation group, and constructing the P-51 monument took 4,500 hours to complete.

The plane, pictured at right, was named Jean Ann II for Withee’s wife, according to MAPS officials.

Kovesci said the National Guard is hoping to create its own museum in a room on the second floor of the MAPS facility. The project will take several years and require some fundraising to complete the needed renovations, which will include a banquet room, a kitchen and other rooms.

— By Maria Lindsay

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