Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Paradise Valley ridge named in honor of fallen Air Force pilots

by Helena Dore

A ridge east of Paradise Valley where a bomber crashed in 1962 has officially been named “B-47 Ridge” in honor of the four Air Force pilots who died there.

President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan B-47 Designation Act into law on Tuesday. The bill honors Capt. Bill Faulconer, Lt. Fred Hixenbaugh, Lt. David Sutton and Lt. Lloyd Sawyers, who died in a plane crash in 1962.

The crew took off from the Dyess Air Force Base in Texas on July 23, 1962, for a training mission. During the flight, their B-47 bomber crashed into a ridge on a southwestern slope of Emigrant Peak, killing all on board.

Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester first introduced the B-47 Designation Act to Congress in 2018. The Senate passed the bill this February and the House passed it in September.

“After almost six decades, it was an honor to get this bipartisan bill signed into law that will forever recognize the brave men who tragically died in the B-47 Bomber crash near Emigrant Peak,” Daines said in a press release. “I want to thank President Trump for signing this historic bill into law, and I look forward to visiting the B-47 Ridge in the future to remember the men we lost that day.”

“The president did right by the brave men whose lives were cut short on that tragic night years ago, by signing our bipartisan bill into law today,” Tester said in the same release. “Dedicating this ridge to the four servicemen who lost their lives while serving our country will keep them alive in the memories of Montanans for generations.”

“I’m grateful President Trump today signed our bipartisan bill into law. By naming the crash site B-47 Ridge, we are forever honoring the four fallen airmen who lost their lives 58 years ago in selfless service to our country,” Gianforte added.