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Dave Armstrong, last remaining member of Camp Rimini during WWII recognized before Congress

Dave Armstrong recognized before Congress
Dave Armstrong recognized before Congress
dave armstrong
Posted at 9:28 AM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 21:01:43-04

HELENA — Camp Rimini veteran and Race to the Sky sled dog race co-founder Dave Armstrong was recognized before Congress on Tuesday for his service to his country and state.

Senator Steve Daines, R-Montana, submitted the Congressional Record about Armstrong and called the veteran Tuesday morning to thank him for his service.

Armstrong was joined by family and friends at his home on the west side of Helena for the occasion where the senator’s staff presented him with a copy of the congressional record and a challenge coin from the senator.

“[The recognition is] awful nice, but I don’t think it’s necessary,” said a humble Armstrong.

The World War II veteran is the last living member of the War Dogs For Defense program that occurred at Camp Rimini.

Armstrong came to Montana in 1943 in a train car full of sled dogs bound for Camp Rimini.

Camp Rimini veteran and Race To The Sky co-founder celebrates 100th birthday

The soldiers of Camp Rimini trained the sled dogs to take part in ground operations in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe during World War II.

The dog teams ended up being used to rescue downed pilots and planes in winter conditions.

In 1986, the retired Armstrong helped found Montana's Governor's Cup Sled Dog Race to honor the dogs and soldiers of Camp Rimini. That race would later become the annual Race To The Sky.

He competed in the race into his 80s and remained a mentor for many mushers in the decades following.

Armstrong also celebrated his 100th birthday earlier in January.

More about the legacy of Camp Rimini can be found at the Montana Military Museum at Fort Harrison.