(Gillette, Wyo.) It's not the first time the Legends of Victory Tour has made its way to Northeast Wyoming, but according to Commemorative Air Force Colonel David Baker, it's the first time the group has brought their B-25 bomber, the "Maid in the Shade," to Gillette.
The aircraft is one of three that tour routinely across the country. Previously they've had their B-17, "Sentimental Journey," in town.
The B-25 is currently parked out at Gillette-Campbell County Airport. In its lifetime it had 15 bombing missions during World War II, targeting mostly railroads. The group has been giving free (with a suggested $5 donation) tours of the inside of the plane all week.
This weekend they have rides scheduled for those that booked time on the plane. They tend to arrange all the demonstration flights for Saturdays and Sundays, to give their pilots a rest between tour stops. The crew is all volunteer, and they rotate duties over the 4-5 month touring schedule.
While the Legends of Victory try to time their tour stops to coincide with other major events going on to maximize exposure, scheduling during the National High School Finals Rodeo was actually a coincidence.
According to Colonel Baker, they try to get the airplane out to the public and educate people about what sacrifices the heroes of the past performed, and what kind of equipment they were actually in.
"It's a passion we have and something we feel it's necessary to get out there and do."
Inside the bomb bay doors, you can glimpse signatures from both past pilots of the B-25, and maintenance workers on the aircraft. One such name is that of Nell Stevenson Bright, a Texas native and member of the 6th Tow Target Squadron, who joined the Women's Airforce Service Pilots in 1943, after reading about the new women's pilot program starting in Texas.
You can tour the historic bomber through July 24th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.