Filed Under Lewistown

Operations and Alert Building

Lewistown Satellite Airfield Historic District

Planning and scheduling of the training missions took place in this one-story T-shaped building during an eleven-month period in 1942-1943. After November 1942, when the first of the four-engine B-17 bombers roared down the airfield, they filled the skies over Central Montana. Despite the secrecy and censorship surrounding activities at the airfield, the Army publicized and marked off practice bombing ranges because the use of live ammunition and bombs made public safety a concern. One range in Blaine County was used for the high altitude precision bombing proven successful in Germany; another in northern Chouteau County served as a gunnery range. Two lines of Japanese “Zero Plane” silhouettes served as targets for strafing practice. The men frequently flew in precise formation under simulated battle conditions, “…when ships must be so spaced as to cover one another with guns.” Even routine training flights over Central Montana experienced casualties. One B-17 crashed near Fort Benton in September of 1942 killing all ten aboard; another crash in December of 1943 south of Musselshell claimed ten crewmen and a cook hitching a ride. 

Images

Operations and Alert Building Operations and Alert Building. View of the east side of the north wing of the building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dave Byerly Date: Spring 1999
Operations and Alert Building Operations and Alert Building. North view of the east wing. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dave Byerly Date: Spring 1999
Operations and Alert Building Operations and Alert Building. View of the east side of the building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dave Byerly Date: Spring 1999

Location

Lewistown Municipal Airport, Lewistown, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Operations and Alert Building,” Historic Montana, accessed December 3, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/375.