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HILL SEEKING $300,000 TO RESTORE BOMBER

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Hill Aerospace Museum is seeking $300,000 from the state Legislature to restore the wreckage of a World War II bomber.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber that crashed in Alaska's Aleutian Islands during the war was recovered last summer.The Legislature came up with $125,000 in matching funds to help pay for the 1995 trip to haul the B-24 off Great Sitkan Island. And if it's willing to chip in a little more money, the museum could conserve its financial resources for other projects, said Rex Hadley, spokesman for the museum foun-da-tion.

"I think there's some real basic support there," said Sen. Robert Montgomery, R-North Ogden, who plans to sponsor the funding legislation. "Most senators feel the museum is a real benefit to Utah."

Montgomery believes funding will be harder to get than in previous years but said the $300,000 the museum is seeking "is a deal we can't pass up. How can you value this plane? It's priceless."

Although the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Superfortress achieved greater fame, more B-24s were built than any other U.S. warplane. In all, more than 18,000 were finished by the time production ended on May 31, 1945.

The B-24s based in Alaska were used primarily to locate and attack Japanese shipping in the North Pacific and to bomb Japanese troops that invaded Attu and Kiska islands in the Aleutians on June 7, 1942. The Japanese would hold Attu until May of 1943 and Kiska for two more months.