Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, JR. has a very special keepsake from the Pentagon after spending time there researching his new role as the major of the heroic African-American Tuskegee airmen for Red Tails.
The Jerry Maguire star was brought to tears by a "wonderful painting" of a bullet-ridden bomber, which he spotted hanging up in the Pentagon and now the image now has pride of place in his home after the actor was gifted a copy of the picture for his birthday.
He tells WENN, "I spent some time in the Pentagon and there was this wonderful painting. It's beautiful, of a B52 bomber and the wing has bullet holes in it ... It's an injured B52 bomber going (flying) with a Red Tail plane in the shadow of the wing... The airman that gave us a tour through the Pentagon explained the painting.
"He said the painting is based on an actual event that happened - when these airmen were escorting the bombers. In the cockpits, it's all glass and super hot, so, to take breaks they flew into the shadow of the wing. When these four patrolled Germans saw a wounded B52 bomber (like in the painting) they said, 'We'll get an easy kill,' so they swooped down and the Red Tail comes out of the shadow and took two of the (German) pilots down.
"I cried right then and there. I have the painting at home because I was an emotional wreck, so the airman said something to my publicist and my birthday present (on 2 January) was a copy of that painting."