Malmstrom Air Force Base traces its beginnings back to 1939 when World War II broke out in Europe. Concern about the war caused the local Chamber of Commerce to contact two Montana senators, Burton K. Wheeler and James E. MurrayB-17 lands at Great Falls Army Air Base, Mont., Nov. 30, 1942 and request they consider development of a military installation in Great Falls. In November 1942, a survey team evaluated an area near the Green Mill Dance Club and Rainbow Dam Road approximately six miles east of Great Falls. Great Falls, along with ten other northern tier sparsely populated sites, was considered for a heavy bomber training base. Construction began on Great Falls Army Air Base on June 8, 1942. The base was informally known as East Base since the 7th Ferrying Group was stationed at municipal airport on Gore Hill. Its mission was to establish an air route between Great Falls and Ladd Field, Fairbanks, Alaska, as part of the United States Lend-Lease Program that supplied the Soviet Union with aircraft and supplies needed to fight the German Army.
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