Montana’s congressional delegation will try again to name a ridge in the mountains east of the Paradise Valley for an Air Force crew who died after their plane crashed into the mountain.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Greg Gianforte have reintroduced the B-47 Ridge Designation Act, which would dub a ridge off the southwest side of Emigrant Peak as ‘B-47 Ridge’ in honor of a bomber that crashed there in the summer of 1962. The crash killed the four men on board: Capt. Bill Faulconer, Lt. Fred Hixenbaugh, Lt. David Sutton and Lt. Lloyd Sawyers.

The delegation also introduced a version of the bill during the last session of Congress. They announced the bill’s reintroduction in a joint news release on Tuesday.

“Naming this ridge in their memory will forever remind Montanans and visitors of their sacrifice,” Daines said in the statement.

“Dedicating this ridge to the crash victims honors the brave men who lost their lives serving our country, and keeps them in the memories of Montanans for generations,” Tester said.

“These brave soldiers tragically lost their lives in service to our country,” Gianforte said.

“Naming this ridge in their honor will remind us forever of their legacy.”

The bill would also allow for the placement of a plaque at the crash site, where much of the wreckage from the crash remains.

On the night of the crash, the plane took off from Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene, Texas, for a routine training mission that passed over Montana. Radio transcripts and maps of the flight path show the plane flew around Dillon before crossing the Paradise Valley. The plane hit the ridge at about 8,500 feet of elevation, starting a small wildfire.

In 2016, nearby resident Bryan Wells built a memorial for the four pilots at the Chico Cemetery. He also organized a ceremony for the living relatives of the four men who died, which Daines attended.

Wells said the bill’s reintroduction is good news, especially for the people who lost loved ones in the crash.

“It’s really a great thing for those families,” he said.

Michael Wright can be reached at or at 406-582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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