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490th Bomb Group Memorial unveiled

Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing unveil the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Airmen from the 100th Air Refueling Wing unveil the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. The ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort by a small group of UK citizens from the Eye area of Suffolk to create a permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. The ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort by a small group of UK citizens from the Eye area of Suffolk to create a permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

92-year-old veteran Si Spiegel, poses for photographs with Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Spiegel flew 35 missions with the 490th Bomb Group and is believed to be the last surviving member of the unit. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

92-year-old veteran Si Spiegel, poses for photographs with Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Spiegel flew 35 missions with the 490th Bomb Group and is believed to be the last surviving member of the unit. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Collins and Staff Sgt. Cody Thompson, 48th Fighter Wing aerospace propulsion craftsmen, stand silently as a World War II “ghost crew” while Col. Thomas Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, renders a salute to honor the men of the 490th Bomb Group May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Collins and Staff Sgt. Cody Thompson, 48th Fighter Wing aerospace propulsion craftsmen, stand silently as a World War II “ghost crew” while Col. Thomas Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, renders a salute to honor the men of the 490th Bomb Group May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A B-17 Flying Fortress performs a flyover during the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. The ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort by a small group of United Kingdom citizens from the Eye area of Suffolk to create a permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A B-17 Flying Fortress performs a flyover during the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. The ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort by a small group of United Kingdom citizens from the Eye area of Suffolk to create a permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Two P-51 Mustang’s perform a flyover during the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Two P-51 Mustang’s perform a flyover during the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Scotty Weeks and Tech Sgt. Jaime Sherwood, 48th Fighter Wing aerospace propulsion craftsmen, render a salute to honor the men of the 490th Bomb Group May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Scotty Weeks and Tech Sgt. Jaime Sherwood, 48th Fighter Wing aerospace propulsion craftsmen, render a salute to honor the men of the 490th Bomb Group May 29, in the village of Brome, England. Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the permanent monument dedicated to the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech Sgt. Matthew Plew)

ROYAL AIR FORCE Lakenheath, England -- Over 100 attendees gathered to witness the unveiling of the 490th Bombardment Group Memorial, May 29, in the village of Brome, England. The ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort by a small group of U.K. citizens from the Eye area of Suffolk to create a permanent monument honoring the men of the 490th for their contributions during World War II.

“Those men who came over here to fight, they’re our Americans,” said Tim Dean, 8th Air Force enthusiast and volunteer World War II re-enactor.

The 490th Bomb Group was moved to England in April 1944 to assist with the 8th Air Force operations. From June 1944 until August 1945, the men of the 490th destroyed airfields and coastal defenses in France during the invasion of Normandy. They struck bridges, rail lines, vehicles, road junctions, oil plants, tank factories, marshalling yards and aircraft plants all over Germany and transported French, Spanish and Belgian prisoners of war from Austria to Allied centers until the group’s deactivation on Nov. 7, 1945.

“The men of the 490th left behind a legacy of friendship, that both nations are grateful for,” said Ian McLachlan, author of “Eighth Air Force Bomber Stories".

Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing participated in the ceremony as a “ghost crew,” dressed in authentic World War II bomber attire, stood silently in the background while poppy blossoms were air dropped over the ceremony site.

In attendance was 92-year-old veteran, Si Spiegel, who once called Eye Airfield home. Spielgel, a native of New York, was assigned to the 490th during World War II, where he flew 35 missions against the Axis powers in Europe.

“This is beyond my wildest imagination,” said Spielgel. “When I first heard a monument was going to be out here, I just knew I had to come and from everyone, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”