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Great Falls Eagle Scout honors victims of 1960s plane crash

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jun 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-16 14:25:37-04

GREAT FALLS – An Eagle Scout in Great Falls is honoring victims of a plane crash that dates back to the 1960s.

“I’m very glad that I chose this to be my Eagle project and to be able to honor men that have not been recognized before,” Joshua Ritchie said.

Ritchie teamed up with a historian from Malmstrom Air Force Base to learn more about a crash that took the lives of two men: Major William Lewis and Lieutenant Ronald Poland.

“Military has always been important to me. My family has deep military roots,” Ritchie said. He said there is no record of the crash, except one single newspaper article.

He and the historian spent 100 hours researching the 1960 crash and learned the two victims took off from the Great Falls International Airport and were heading toward Gore Hill. Their plane banked and crashed.

Ritchie said for his project, he decided to plant a tree, place a plaque and honor the two victims.

“I recognize the importance of remembering those who have served and given up more than they need to give in service to this nation,” Ritchie said.

You can visit the tree at Veterans Memorial Park in Great Falls. It is located at 1025 25th Street North.

Story by Elizabeth Transue, MTN News