As you enter Lewistown from the west you see interpretive panels that showcase the part Lewistown’s airfield played in World War II. It became a training site for pilots flying B-17 bombers. I assume our open skies contributed to the location as two other communities in Montana, Great Falls and Cut Bank, also had crews training in their area.
The bases were built quickly so the bomber crews could get their final proficiency training and then head to Europe and North Africa. What a change of scenery from Lewistown, Montana.
A year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, training was underway. On the interpretive panel you can see how bundled the bomber crews were. It was 30 below zero in Lewistown that winter.
After the Montana-trained bomber squadrons finished polishing their skills for formation flying and
precision bombing they flew a total of 1,263 combat missions, dropped 71,128 tons of bombs and lost 548 aircraft.
We don’t like to think about or talk about prior wars but they do remain part of our history.
Even though driving in to Lewistown today seems beautifully scenic and almost pastoral, the community has preserved the history of this significant airfield.
After I read these panels and gazed at the airport and flight landing strips, I then drove to downtown Lewistown. I walked their labyrinth and couldn’t resist taking a photo at the entrance talking about peace. It was a good ending to my day.