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Legendary ‘Tanker 10′ To Stand Guard Over Missoula Airport Entrance

photo from Neptune Aviation
Neptune Tanker

The Lockheed bomber that served in the 1960’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis and eventually became a vital part in fighting wildfires all over the country, will soon be standing guard over the entrance to the Missoula International Airport.

Spokesman for Neptune Aviation Kevin Condit said the company is honored that the Missoula Airport has asked that Bomber 10 be permanently placed at the entrance of the airport.

“Tanker 10 is a firefighting tanker that we retired,” Condit said. “It will now be the gate guard at the Missoula International Airport. Neptune and the Missoula aviation community have a very long history, and with the Smokejumpers and the Forest Service in Missoula, they asked Neptune Aviation if Tanker 10 could be the gate guard.”

Condit related part of Tanker 10’s history.

“Tanker 10 has been around for a very long time, ” he said. “It was manufactured by Lockheed in 1957 and served in the Navy for almost 25 years. Taking your listeners back, it was patrolling for the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis along the Florida coast. Neptune purchased the aircraft in the 1980’s and converted it into a fire tanker.”

Condit said the tanker will be moved to it’s new permanent station on Tuesday morning starting at about 8:00 a.m.

“We’ll tow the aircraft to the site and knock down a few fences, then the aircraft will be placed on a pad over by the airport entrance,” he said.

Condit said even though moving the tanker is not a ‘public event’, the public is welcome to watch as Tanker 10 is placed in its permanent new home.

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