The B-17 and B-25 Air tour landed in Butte this week, and both planes have an impressive history.
The “Maid in the Shade” is one of thirty-four B-25 bombers that still flies today and is unique because it flew combat missions over Italy and Yugoslavia in 1944.
“Even after the war it was repainted and used for other purposes, but we restored it back to its original colors and condition when it flew in World War II,” said Mike Garrett, Docent & B17/B25 Flight Loadmaster.
“So it’s quite special to us. Plus we have names of people on the bomb bay doors who flew on these types of planes.”
The Commemorative Air Force restores and preserves the historical combat planes to educate and provide enjoyment for present and future generations.
“Like I said, I’m glad that these people invest their time and money to restore these and travel around so people around the country see these aircrafts,” said Korean War Veteran Bruce Grimes.
“They’re pretty nice. They’re inspiring to me.”
The B-17 and the B-25 flight tour provides an opportunity for people to walk around the planes and take a look inside.
The tour is open to all, and veterans in particular.
World War II veteran Wade Smith was especially impressed. He served in the Navy but has always been fascinated by planes.
“We get veterans out who come to our planes with their families who may have never shared what their experience was. And as a result, we’ve had stories of families who get back home, their dad or uncle, whatever, shares their stories, and they thank us for that,” said Flight Loadmaster Garrett
The Commemorative Air Force will be in Butte through August 4.
Story by Gaby Krevat, MTN News