Miss Montana Back Home After 16,000 Miles, 6 Countries

Plane dropped smokejumpers who died fighting Mann Gulch Fire near Helena in 1949

By Tristan Scott

MISSOULA — A vintage airplane restored by volunteers in Montana is back home after participating in events commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The Missoulian reports that about 50 people were waiting to greet Miss Montana when it landed Monday in Missoula after traveling 16,000 miles (25,750 kilometers) to six countries.

It dropped 19 parachutists over Normandy in two passes and landed in the French countryside as part of the commemoration of the invasion. A few days later the plane participated in events in Germany marking the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.

The plane was a smokejumper and transport plane and dropped the smokejumpers who died fighting the Mann Gulch Fire near Helena in 1949. It will return to Mann Gulch for the fire’s 70th anniversary on Aug. 5.