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Tuskegee airmen meet bomber they escorted

Big Flats, N.Y. (AP) -- A Memorial Day weekend reunion of some of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen has brought them together with a World War II bomber pilot their unit escorted on a famous mission over Germany.

The Buffalo News reports ( ) that 95-year-old Bill Strapko of North Tonawanda, New York was invited to Saturday's Return of the Red Tails celebration at the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center in Big Flats, near Elmira, New York.

Six former Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military pilots, attended the event. Among them was Roscoe C. Brown Jr. of New York City, commander of the fighter squadron that escorted Strapko's formation of B-17's during a bombing mission to Berlin in March 1945.

It was the European Theater's longest mission flown by American bombers while escorted by fighters.

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Washington Times