Late Monday morning, the B25J WW II Bomber ‘Maid in the Shade’ flew over Holman Aviation, kicking off day one of its week-long ‘Flying Legends’ tour in Great Falls.
After landing, a ceremony was held in honor of the veteran aircraft - featuring guest speakers from the Montana Veterans Memorial Association, Malmstrom Air Force Base, the Montana Air National Guard, and the Arizona Base Commemorative Air Force.
Montana Air National Guard’s Former Wing Commander of the 120th Fighter Wing, Rex Tanberg, explained why the B25's arrival holds significance for all residents.
“History is so important and this is part of history. The B25 was one of the main medium bombers in world war II in every theater around the world - to be specific, Europe, Asia, Japan. It’s important to remember that,” Tanberg said.
This historical relic flew 15 combat missions and bears the signatures of dozens of men and women involved in its construction and operation during WWII.
Among those names are Doolittle Raiders Staff Sgt. David Thatcher and Lt. Col. Ed Saylor, as well as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Betty Hayes.
The bomber plane was constructed in the shade of an airplane hangar, from which it derives its name ‘Maid in the Shade’.
Although 10,000 of these aircraft were originally built, only 34 still fly today.
The bomber will be on display at Holman Aviation -1940 Airport Ct, August 3-9 for ground tours and August 7-9 for plane rides.
Times for plane tours are as follows:
Monday: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tue - Thurs: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Fri - Sun: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Ride times vary. You can book a ride online here [azcaf.org].
Tours cost $10 per person and $20 per family.
Rides cost $325 for a waist gunner seat and $590 for a front jump seat.