HELENA — At the Montana Army National Guard Aviation Center in Helena, the D-C-3 that carried the Smokejumper Team to the Mann Gulch Fire, which flew back over the site Monday to honor the firefighters who lost their lives.
The Miss Montana was on display at the Montana Army National Guard’s Aviation Support Center Monday as the public had a chance to see the plan up-close before it took off on its historic flight path.
Around 10:30 a.m. the plane took off, heading north to the Gates of the Mountains area.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute team were also hand at the Aviation Center and helped highlight the significance and the importance of remembering to honor those Smokejumpers who lost their lives in the Mann Gulch fire.
Sergeant Ryan O’Rourke, a U.S Army Golden Knight, after landing, told MTN “It's really cool to be here for the 70th anniversary of Mann Gulch, just seeing what those guys do. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with what we do except we, you know, we respect those guys ten-fold...you know, it's gotta take a lot of courage to jump into a forest fire.”
State Aviation Officer for the Montana National Guard, Colonel Jamie Wilkins said, “The open house that we hosted today, was really a highlight on the partnerships that we have with the state, local and federal level for dealing with state active duty missions; such as that as fire…and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the tragedy at Mann Gulch and bring everyone together as a team and highlight what we can do to prevent anything like that from happening again.”