February 1945 in Montana

February 1945

February 4 – A waste paper drive in Missoula yielded 50,000 pounds.

February 11 – President Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at Yalta and signed an agreement splitting Europe into occupation zones.

February 12 – Four children, aged 6 months, 3, 4, and 13 died in a fire on the Fort Belknap Reservation. The mother and other children survived.

February 13 – Budapest was occupied by the Soviets.

February 16 – U.S. carrier planes attacked Iwo Jima with napalm. American paratroopers landed on Corregidor.

February 18 – The Third Army breached the Siegfried line.

February 19 – U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima. Fred T. Daylis was appointed the acting principal of Billings Senior High.

February 21 – A B-24 from the Spokane Air Base crashed 35 miles southwest of Philipsburg en route to Great Falls. The pilot and copilot died but one crew member parachuted to safety. Donald Ruhl threw himself on a grenade on Iwo Jima, saving 2 other men. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

February 23 – U.S. Marine Louis Charlo helped raise the first American flag on top of Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

February 25 – A house fire killed a man in Great Falls.

Read more about February 1945 in Montana

January 1945 in Montana

March 1945 in Montana (coming soon)

Montana History Calendar 1942

Montana History Calendar 1941

Montana History Calendar 1930s

Montana's Home Front During World War II
Montana’s Home Front During World War II


First Aero Squadron artifact

Can you help identify this artifact of the First Aero Squadron?

Alert reader Mark Davis sent me photos of this piece after reading my article on the First Aero Squadron in Mexico and wanted to know if I had any idea what this artifact is. It’s cast iron, about 6 inches tall, 5 inches wide, weighs about 3 pounds, and is hollow in back.

Firstaero artifact front view

Here is what I do know.

– This particular prop and wing emblem was used by Army aviation from 1920 to 1947, so it was probably made after the Mexican Punitive Expedition and World War I.
– AMC most likely stands for Aviation Maintenance Company, although it could stand for Air Materials Command (which only existed in 1946-47).

First aero artifact side view

Was this used to support something heavy, or was it purely decorative.

If you have any ideas what this might be, please leave a comment and I will pass your thoughts  on to the owner of the piece.

First aero artifact back view

The First Aero Squadron was the US Army’s first aviation unit. It was initially composed of eight Curtiss JN-4 Jennies, and first saw action during the Mexican Punitive Expedition when 10,000 troops under Gen. Pershing  hunted for Pancho Villa’s bandits after the Raid on Columbus in March 1916.

Learn more about the First Aero Squadron and the Mexican Revolution here.
Read The First Aero Squadron Chases a Bandit

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