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A service member with the Montana National Guard peers out the back of a Chinook helicopter in this file photo.

The Montana National Guard invites citizens to attend the dedication ceremony for the new Col. James F. Barfknecht Memorial Aviation Readiness Center at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.

In 1947 Col. Barfknecht became the first aviator in the Montana Army National Guard and in 1955 flew the first military helicopter in the state. He is known as the father of Montana Army National Guard Aviation. Barfknecht retired from the military in 1977 after 35 years of service and passed away in 2016.

Following the ceremony, the public will have the opportunity to tour the Montana Army National Guard Aviation Campus which includes the new Aviation Readiness Center, the Army Aviation Support Facility and the fixed wing operations building. Guests will have the opportunity to view both rotary and fixed wing aircraft operated by the Army National Guard and speak with the Soldiers of the 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion who will be conducting maintenance and flight operations throughout the day. A barbecue lunch will be available for purchase.

The Helena Aviation Readiness Center is located at 3330 Skyway Dr. Guests are suggested to carpool to the open house as parking will be limited.

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