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11:45 a.m. The Big Sky Honor Flight has arrived at Dulles International Airport with a water cannon salute from airport firefighters.


 

8:10 a.m. With 84 World War II veterans on board, the fourth Big Sky Honor Flight lifted off from the Billings airport bound for Washington D.C. on Sunday morning. Arrival is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. EST.


5 a.m. Dozens of World War II veterans from across the state gathered early Sunday at Billings Logan International Airport as they prepared for a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C., on the fourth Big Sky Honor Flight.

The veterans will make the rounds of Washington on the 36-hour trip, visiting the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other monuments and landmarks in the nation's capital.

After this flight with 84 veterans scheduled to be on board, the Big Sky Honor Flight will have taken 354 Montana veterans to Washington, D.C.

All of the veterans have their trips entirely paid for by the organization, which relies on donations. The biggest single donor so far has been the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which will have given $100,000 by the time of the fifth flight, scheduled for June 16-17.

The average cost per veteran is $1,000, and the average cost per flight is $155,000.

The veterans, volunteers, medical personnel and family members are scheduled to catch a Sun Country Airlines chartered flight at 7:30 Sunday morning, arriving in the capital at 1:15 EST.

They will visit the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean memorials on Sunday afternoon, with a reception, dinner and program set for Sunday night.

The visit to the World War II Memorial will take place Monday morning, followed by a trip to the Arlington National Cemetery and visits to the Iwo Jima and FDR memorials.

They will fly out Monday afternoon, arriving back at Billings Logan International Airport at 8:25 p.m.

Among the veterans on flight No. 4 will be former Montana Gov. Tim Babcock, of Helena, who served as a staff sergeant with the 99th Infantry in Europe. He was a platoon runner in Belgium, France and Germany and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Big Sky Honor Flight is a member of the National Honor Flight Network, which has flown more than 100,000 World War II veterans to see their monument since the program began in 2005.

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