Cut Bank Municipal Airport and Army Air Base

Nestled in the rolling hills and coulees within the boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, the Cut Bank Airport recalls a layered history. Cut Bank already had several private pilots when civil aviation laws began to appear in Montana in the late 1920s. With the local oil industry booming, Cut Bank dentist C. H. Minette realized a future need for private and commercial aviation. He began a tough battle to win services for Cut Bank. In 1930, officials selected this site and the land was leased as a private airfield. The Blackfeet allowed the city and Glacier County to purchase the land in 1941 and Western Airlines made its inaugural flight to Cut Bank. At the start of World War II, Cut Bank offered the airfield for government use. Cut Bank, Glasgow, and Lewistown became satellite airbases of the Great Falls Army Air Base. The first troops arrived in November 1942 and trained here through 1943. Two runways accommodated the B-17 Flying Fortresses on which the pilots and crews trained. Squadrons learned navigation, bombing techniques, and all aspects of the B-17 Flying Fortress before directly joining forces on the European front. Causalities were high and the need for crews unrelenting. Throughout the war, Western Airlines continued domestic service. In 1948, the army conveyed much of its property to Cut Bank and Glacier County. The structures and runways remain to tell the story of early aviation in Montana and of the young servicemen, warmly adopted into the community, who trained at Cut Bank.

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Map

2625 Valier Highway, Cut Bank, Montana ~ Public