The Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor was established in 2003 by The Oregon State Department of Aviation to recognize outstanding men and women in Oregon aviation.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum near McMinnville, Oregon, was designated by the State of Oregon as the official location for the Aviation Hall of Honor.
Criteria for nominees to the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor include but are not limited to the following:
1. Be an individual who is a native or resident of the State of Oregon or who is strongly identified with the State of Oregon who has made contributions of significant historic value to aviation/aerospace or the aviation/aerospace industry as a whole.
2. Be a person of ability and character who has exhibited the qualities of patriotism, integrity, moral and/or physical courage and/or public service.
3. Be a person who has achieved excellence and historic achievement in one or more fields of aviation including but not exclusive of the following:
a. Military achievements & service
b. Accomplishments in flight including space and instruction
c. Aircraft/aerospace and propulsion design, invention and manufacture
d. Civilian or commercial aviation development, operations and/or other aviation related civilian endeavors
4. A person who has significantly promoted education in the area of aviation, aerospace and propulsion
Please provide full name, title, contact information, photograph and full biographical information and the reason for the recommendation of the individual to:
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor Committee
Attn: Mike Burrill, Sr., Chairman
500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way
McMinnville, OR 97128
All recommendations will be considered by the Hall of Honor Committee.
A third-generation Oregonian who busied himself creating crude, solid-wood model airplanes as an adolescent, Buswell constructed his first home-built aircraft after obtaining his pilots license and soloing in 1938. Flying that aircraft from the pasture of his parent’s farm to Swan Island Airport in Portland ignited for Buswell a life-long passion for aviation, which led him through WWII as a B-24 Liberator pilot and an active participant in the Experimental Aircraft Association. Buswell’s award is posthumous.
Known in commercial aviation circles as the “Granddad of United Airlines,” Gorst, a former Coos Bay resident, knew how to move the mail. Though he began with ground transport in 1904, Gorst realized the potential in air transport and received the first Pacific Coast Air Mail contract in 1925 to deliver the mail through the auspices of his Pacific Air Transport company. He later merged Boeing Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, Varney Air Lines and National Air Transport into one organization known as United Airlines to fly the Pacific Coast routes. Gorst’s award is posthumous.
Watching birds in flight as a child, Jeppesen, formerly of O’Dell,Ore., longed to take to the sky. As a teenager, he saved enough money for an eight minute flight in a Curtiss Jenny and by age 20 he soloed as a student of the Rankin School of Aviation. Flying as a reserve pilot for the Boeing Air Transport Company, Jeppesen realized the need for aeronautical charts for safe flight and began recording field lengths, slopes, drainage patterns and information on lights and obstacles. Before long, other pilots became aware of Jeppesen’s “little black book” and began requesting copies of their own – so many, in fact, he began to charge $10 a copy. Today, Jeppesen’s charts are a staple in most pilots’ navigational chests. Jeppesen’s award is posthumous.
While employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, Milligan observed the need of polio patients for transportation to hospitals where they could obtain adequate medical care. In 1949, he founded Mercy Flights, Inc. in Medford, the first non-profit air ambulance service. He served as Mercy Flights’ board chair, chief pilot and spokesperson, flying more than 11,000 patients in southern Oregon and northern California before his death while transporting a patient in Medford in 1985. Milligan’s award is posthumous.
Founder and CEO of Evergreen International Aviation, Smith built his company into the most diversified aviation business in the world. Growing up in Centralia, Wash., Smith gained a strong work ethic at a very young age. After graduating from the University of Washington, Smith became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force and was a squadron commander of a Pathfinder unit. Following his military service, Smith flew fixed wing aircraft and helicopters commercially. He visualized aircraft as industrial workhorses and angels of mercy and in 1960 founded Evergreen Helicopters, Inc., the first of seven synergistic aviation service companies in McMinnville. Smith resides in Dundee, Ore.
From the early days of Vietnam, through his subsequent service in the Oregon Air National Guard, he always displayed outstanding leadership, patriotism, courage and loyalty to the organizations he served. Bernhardt received the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with 12 oak leaf clusters from the United States Air Force and the Gallantry Cross with Silver Star from the Republic of Vietnam. Later joining the Oregon Air National Guard, he took command of the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group in 1989 serving in that position until his retirement in 1996. Bernhardt resides in Portland, Ore.
Costello has been a respected member of the aviation community for over 64 years. He volunteered with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and earned ratings in two dozen different aircraft before joining the Air Force Reserve in 1946. Recalled to active duty for the Berlin Airlift, he also served in Korea and Southeast Asia. Joining the staff of the Oregon Division of Aeronautics (DOA) in 1972, he was instrumental in creating Oregon’s State System Planning for General Aviation. He persuaded the FAA to fund the concept for the Oregon plan, which became a model for state plans across the U.S. Upon retiring from DOA, Costello served the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as the Northwest representative for 17 years and continues today as the special Oregon contact for AOPA among many other Oregon aviation leadership roles. He is referred to as Mr. Oregon General Aviation. Costello resides in Corvallis, Ore.
Staff Sergeant DeShazer joined the famed Doolittle Raiders and participated as a B-25 bombardier in the surprise attack on Tokyo, Japan. After completing the mission, his plane ran out of fuel and his crew landed in hostile territory. Captured and kept as a prisoner of war, he endured severe beatings and malnutrition for 40 months. When the war ended on August 20, 1945, the Japanese released DeShazer. He wrote a story, titled I Was a Prisoner of Japan, which fell into the hands of the man who led the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida – transforming his life. He received worldwide media attention for converting Fuchida to Christianity and both became friends, ministering together in Japan and the United States. DeShazer lived in Salem, Oregon.
Helicopter pioneer, Johnson believed in the use of the rotor-powered flying machine as an aerial workhorse and predicted a terrific future where man would utilize helicopters to move houses and haul timber out of forests. He served as a Marine Air Wing fighter pilot, flying dive-bombers in the South Pacific. Joining the Marine Corps Reserves as a helicopter pilot, he received the first commercial helicopter operator’s license in the nation in 1950. Purchasing his first helicopter the same year, he launched his company, Dean Johnson, Inc. Over the next few years, Johnson and his company proved the helicopter’s capabilities through aerial surveys of power lines, snow fields and timberlands; airlifting men to fight forest fires; rounding up wild horses for Native Americans, transporting heavy material for construction projects, and hauling at least 25 “authentic” Santa Clauses. Johnson’s award is posthumous.
Joining the United States Naval Air Reserve in 1941, Ensign Maloney received his wings on September 4, 1942. He received an assignment with Air Group 98, based at Guadalcanal. Providing air support during the invasions of Munda, Bouganville and Green Islands, he made over 80 strikes against the Japanese. In July 1944, he received an assignment with Air Group 6 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock and participated in fifteen strikes against enemy shipping and airfields in Nansei Shoto, Wake Island, and Okinawa. As Division Leader, Maloney led a strike against Okinawa, destroying a bridge used by the Japanese to supply their troops on the heights of the beach. Exploding debris from the bridge smashed into his aircraft, but Maloney maintained control long enough to ditch the aircraft in the open sea, where he and his rear-seat gunner quickly escaped before it sank and were later retrieved by a U.S. destroyer. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Navy Crosses, and five Air Medals. Maloney resides in McMinnville, Ore.
WWII P-38 Lightning Pilot who shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, 1943: posthumous
Flying a P-38 Lightning on April 18, 1943, Rex Barber shot down the Mitsubishi Betty bomber carrying Japanese naval strategist Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet and architect of the raid on Pearl Harbor. Barber later flew with the 14th Air Force, under General Claire Chennault. Led by Major John W. Mitchell, the 432-mile low-level intercept mission was the longest successful fighter intercept mission flown during World War II. The United States discovered Yamamoto’s plan to inspect the naval base at Bougainville in the Soloman Islands by breaking the Japanese radio code. With an endorsement by President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Know issued the order to intercept Yamamoto’s party and destroy it at all costs. The United States kept the mission a secret until after the War so that the Japanese would not know that their top naval code had been broken. Shot down and injured over enemy territory near the Yangtze River while commanding the 449th Fighter Squadron, Barber evaded capture and returned to Allied territory in two months with the aid of the Chinese. He spent eight months in a California hospital recuperating. In January 1945, he returned to duty with 412th Fighter Group, 29th Fighter Squadron, testing the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. He flew jet fighters in the Korean War and retired as a Colonel after a full Air Force career. By the end of WWII, Barber had five confirmed aerial victories and three probables. Awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal and Veteran of foreign Wars Gold Medal of Merit, he died peacefully in his home on July 26, 2001.
WWII United States Marine Corps Ace, 1942, Navy Test Pilot, Marine Corps Commander: posthumous
One of the United States’ most decorated aviators, Marion Carl flew an F-4 Wildcat at Guadalcanal on August 24, 1942, encountering a Japanese force of bombers and fighters. Credited with 11.5 kills by the end of the Guadalcanal battle, Carl later said, these kills “made me an ace, the first in Marine Corps history, but that thought didn’t occur to me at the time – we were far too busy and more concerned with our losses.” After World War II, Carl became a U.S. Navy test pilot, setting a world speed record of 651 miles per hour on August 25, 1947. Chuck Yeager broke the record with Mach 1 (700 mph) later that year. In 1953, Carl set the world altitude record of 83,235 feet, and two years later, he flew U-2 hotoreconnaissance missions over China. Returning to combat during the Vietnam war, Major General Marion Carl commanded the 2nd Marine Air Wing. Retiring in 1973 with a record of 18.5 aerial victories, Carl was among the first Marines to fly a helicopter and the first Marine to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. He was also the first military advisor to wear a full pressure suit. During his career he logged 13,000 flying hours in aircraft from biplanes, seaplanes and helicopters to jet and rocket powered experimental models. Awarded the Navy Cross with two Gold Stars, Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross with four Gold Stars, and Air Medal with thirteen Gold Stars, Carl died while protecting his wife from an intruder in their home on June 28, 1998.
WWII U.S. Air Force Major, Tuskegee 99th Fighter Squadron: posthumous
At a time when black Americans struggled to overcome the daily obstacles of racial segregation, Robert Deiz dreamed of a career flying airplanes. Learing to fly in the late 1930’s through the Civilian Pilot’s Training program at Swan Island in Portland, Oregon, Deiz realized his dream at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. With an increased demand for pilots, the Army Air Corps began a so-called “experimental” aviation-training program at historically black Tuskegee Institute in the summer of 1940. This program resulted in a new corps of pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance personnel and instructors. These individuals became collectively known as the Tuskegee Airmen. While at Tuskegee, Deiz posed for artist Betsy Graves Reyneau who painted the famous war bond poster titled “Keep Us Flying!”
After graduation, Deiz spent 13 months flying 93 missions overseas with the elite Tuskegee-trained 99th Fighter Squadron. One of a handful of Tuskegee Airmen from Oregon, Deiz once said: “It irks us when people refer to us as an experiment. We are not conceited, but we feel we can fly as good as anybody else.” Deiz shot down two German Focke-Wulf 190s while flying ground support missions in late January 1944. Returning to the United States and the Tuskegee Institute, Major Deiz became a B-25 aircraft instructor.
Deiz remained in the Air Force after World War II. He spent time flying transport aircraft in Alaska and was involved in closing Air Force bases, such as Eniwetok, in the Pacific. Additionally, Deiz was instrumental in the development of safer landing patterns used by aircraft during inclement weather. After retiring from the Air Force in 1961, he joined North American Aviation at Columbus, Ohio, where he worked in research and development. Major Deiz passed away on April 6, 1992.
Former Chief of Staff, Oregon Air National Guard Founder, and WWII Fighter Pilot: Died April 11, 2008
Major General Gordon Doolittle — affectionately known as the Big Red Rooster owing to his thick red hair — left an indelible mark on the Oregon Air National Guard (ORANG) and the National Guard Bureau.
Enlisting in the Army Air Corps in June 1942, Doolittle received combat training in P-38 and P-39 aircraft. Receiving his wings and commission in April 1944, Lieutenant Doolittle joined the 435th Squadron of the 479th Fighter Group in Wattisham, England.
He went on to became an accomplished fighter pilot with 70 WWII combat missions over Europe and three German combat kills: two on December 5, 1944 and one on February 9, 1945. Captain Doolittle joined the ORANG as Squadron Operations Officer, 123rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron in August 1946. He assumed the duties of Fighter Squadron Commander in August 1947, was promoted to Major the next month and to Lieutenant Colonel in December 1949.
After the activation of the ORANG 142nd Fighter Group during the Korean Conflict, Doolittle became Deputy Group Commander at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. He assumed command of the 142nd Fighter Group upon the unit’s reallocation to Oregon and became Deputy Chief of Staff, Headquarters, ORANG in 1953.
Colonel Doolittle helped develop Air Force plans to use Air National Guard units called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. Assuming command of the ORANG in June 1962, Brigadier General Doolittle became a Major General in April 1973, retiring four years later. His service as Commander of the ORANG and his work with the USAF at the Pentagon formulating plans and logistics forever changed the face of the United States Air National Guard. His 26-year legacy remains with the Guard and the Air Force today.
WWII US Army Air Corps Captain, 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, 14th Air Force: posthumous
Airplanes always fascinated John Hampshire. His passion for flying led him to seek a pilot’s license, despite not having the money to do so. To fund his flying lessons, Hampshire hoisted his huge oak desk out his upstairs bedroom window and sold it! Soon after earning his private pilot’s license, Hampshire enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After graduating from flight school, he found himself assigned to the 14th Air Force, under the command of General Clair Chennault, flying Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters in China.
Assigned to the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, Hampshire first engaged in combat on October 25th, 1942 over Hong Kong and destroyed two Japanese aircraft while escorting B-25 Mitchell bombers. Hampshire flew aggressively and quickly amassed an impressive record of aerial victories. On April 24, 1943, Hampshire attacked and destroyed a Japanese aircraft that had dropped leaflets touting the superiority of Japanese aerial forces over the city of Lingling. Hampshire wrote to his father, “The pilot that dropped them ran into a little hard luck on the way home.”
On May 2, 1943, after shooting down a Japanese fighter, Hampshire’s P-40 plunged into the Siang River. That night the Chinese set off 100,000 firecrackers to honor Hampshire, who with 17 aerial victories was the highest scoring US ace in China at the time. Hampshire received several decorations posthumously, including the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heard. Grants Pass, Oregon honors his memory with John Hampshire Field and by burning an eternal flame for Captain John F. Hampshire, Jr. – the local boy who gave his life to his country.
American Volunteer Group Flying Tiger Flight Leader and Ace
A Marine pilot, who joined Claire Chenault’s Flying Tigers in China, Ken Jernstedt became the American Volunteer Group’s fifth-ranking ace, destroying more than 10 Japanese aircraft. Jernstedt joined the Marine Air Corps in 1939, receiving his Navy wings in 1940. He became a Flight Leader for the legendary Flying Tigers after training in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His “Hells Angels” squadron was among the first in action after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Before going into basic training he wanted to make sure he would like flying, so he took his first flight from the old Swan Island Airport in Portland, Oregon, in a small, two-seat airplane. Jernstedt said, “From that point on I was hooked on flying!” After World War II, he returned to Oregon making a home in Hood River where he ran a successful bottling company and began a political career that lasted 40 years. Beginning as a city councilman in 1951, he became Hood River’s Mayor in 1959. Jernstedt moved to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1966, and then served five terms in the Oregon Senate. He returned to Hood River as Mayor in 1989 and retired from politics in 1991. Due to glaucoma, his vision eventually deteriorated, and his guide dog, Driscoll, entered his life. Jernstedt received the Distinguished Flying Cross in October 1996 and in June of 2001 the Port of Hood River formally changed the name of the Hood River Airport to Ken Jernstedt Airport in his honor. Ken Jernstedt passed away on February 5, 2013.
WWII U.S. Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force: posthumous
Native Oregonian David Kingsley worked as a Portland firefighter before entering Army Air Corps service in April 1942. After receiving his bombardier’s wings in July 1943, Second Lieutenant Kingsley joined the 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, stationed in Italy. On June 23, 1944, Kingsley and his B-17 crew participated in a mission to destroy the Ploesti oil fields in Romania. While approaching the target, the aircraft received severe damage from German defenses. Nonetheless, once the pilot positioned the aircraft over the target, Bombardier Kingsley successfully dropped his bombs causing severe damage to vital German installations. In response, German ME-109 aircraft intensified their attack upon Kingsley’s B-17. Severely damaged, the Flying Fortress lost altitude and lagged behind the bomb group formation. Both the ball turret gunner and the tail gunner received severe wounds. Learning of his crewmembers’ injuries, Kingsley went to administer first aid. Due to the intense flak damage, the pilot ordered the crew to bailout of the B-17. Kingsley, while tending to the tail gunner’s wounds, removed his own parachute and adjusted the harness to fit his injured crewmate. Next, he assisted both gunners in bailing out as the aircraft ontinued to loose altitude. The aircraft went down taking Kingsley with it. His body was later found in the wreckage. David Kingsley was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in May 1945. He was the only Oregonian airman of WWII to receive the prestigious award. In 1957, Klamath Falls dedicated its airport as Kingsley Field in honor of Second Lieutenant David Kingsley.
WWII US WASP, 3rd Ferying Squadron: posthumous
In 1943, Hazel Ying Lee became one of 132 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) to serve their nation during World War II. She made aviation history as the first Chinese-American woman to fly a military plane. A native of Portland, Oregon, Lee fell in love with flying at a time when less than one percent of American Pilots were women.
After obtaining per pilot’s license in 1932, she wanted to fly for the Chinese Air Force against Japan. Unable to join the Chinese Air Force, Lee remained in China until 1938 and contributed to that nation’s war effort in a number of ways. After returning to the United States, Lee learned about an opportunity to fly military aircraft through the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). during training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, she made an emergency landing in a farmer’s field. Mistaking her for a Japanese pilot, the farmer held her at “pitchfork point” until the farmer’s son realized who Lee was and assisted her.
Graduating as a WASP on August 7, 1943, Lee joined the Air Transport Command’s 3rd Ferrying Squadron and began ferrying trainer and liaison type aircraft. After completing “Pursuit School,” Lee began to ferry advanced fighter aircraft. In late November 1944, she picked up a new Bell P-63 King Cobra in New York and flew the aircraft to Great Falls, Montana. Another P-63 struck Lee’s aircraft while landing at Great Falls on November 23, 1944. She survived the fiery crash, but succumbed to her injuries two days later. In her lifetime, Lee flew more that 70 different aircraft and died doing what she loved: flying.
Four-star general, Retired Air Force Chief of Staff: livingous
With more than 6,000 hours logged principally in fighter aircraft, 269 combat missions, pilot wings from 11 countries, and two years spent as a member of the Thunderbirds, the famed Air Force precision flying team, General Merrill “Tony” McPeak was a natural to command the US Air Force during the Gulf War. Entering the Air Force in 1957, McPeak flew as an attack pilot and high-speed forward air controller during the Vietnam War. In Vietnam he served as the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing Commander from February 25, 1980 to May 26, 1981. He then spent two years as a pilot for the elite aerial exhibition team the hunderbirds. A highly decorated four-star general, McPeak assumed the role of Air Force Chief of Staff in October 1990 and directed the air campaign in Operation Desert Storm. Over the next four years, he accomplished the largest reorganization of the Air Force in United States history. Following Desert Storm, McPeak participated in the development of improved guided munitions enabling more precise targeting of air strikes. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also functioned as a military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the President of the United States. He retired in 1994 to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he is president of McPeak and Associates, an international aerospace-consulting firm. He also serves as Chairman of ECC International, a military simulation training company, and serves on the Board of Directors of several other hightech companies. McPeak continues to lecture widely and is an expert commentator on television and radio regarding military operations.
Co-founder, Tektronix, Inc., private pilot, and aviation buff: posthumous
Jack Murdock believed in science as a main source of knowledge and the key to resolving issues. Convincing his parents to help him start a business rather than pay for a college education, he purchased a shop for the sale and service of radios and electrical appliances. No one was surprised when in 1946, he and his technician, Howard Vollum, exploited their small radio and appliance shop to found Tektronix, Inc. — now one of the world’s most prominent electronic instrumentation companies. A Portland, Oregon native, private pilot and aviation buff, Murdock believed deeply in philanthropy and helped fund Northwest education and scientific research wherever he could. Murdock once operated a Piper aircraft distributorship at Pearson Field in Vancouver. With a strong interest in aviation safety, he initiated a umber of aircraft modifications, making them safer and more serviceable to pilots. The SuperCub was his favorite plane. Subsequent to his untimely death in a floatplane crash on the Columbia River in 1971, the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust was established in 1975 per Murdock’s will. Focusing its funds to grantmaking allocations in the Pacific Northwest, the Murdock Trust mission focuses on enriching quality of life by funding organizations seeking to strengthen the educational and cultural programs in creative and sustainable ways. The Trust is now one of the five largest private foundations in the Northwest. It funded the creation of the Jack Murdock Aviation Center at Pearson Field in Vancouver as a lasting tribute to his life.
Founder of Aero Air, flight trainer
With an avid and infectious passion for aviation, Norman “Swede” Ralston has inspired thousands to take to the skies. Swede saw his first airplane at the age of five and ran a mile over fields and fences to keep it in sight. As a teen, he purchased and rebuilt an American Eaglet. Flying at every opportunity, Swede barnstormed, sold rides and lessons, built an experimental aircraft designed by Les Long called the Ralston Low Wing, and constructed the first commercial hangar at Hillsboro, Oregon. Courting his future wife, Radah, from an airplane instead of a car, Swede often landed on a field intentionally left unplanted by her father adjacent to their farm.
During WWII, Swede trained hundreds of Army pilots with Tex Rankin at the Rankin Air Academy in California. Returning to Hillsboro, he continued flight instruction, converted surplus General Motors TBMs to spray forests, and purchased a fleet of aircraft for Ralston Airshows. Ralston entertained thousands with a host of different aircraft – like the “Skinless Cub,” a modified Piper J-3 with a horse saddle on it. One of his most memorable flights was a dash through the massive wooden dirigible hangar at the Tillamook Naval Air Station at 250 miles an hour in a North American AT-6 Texan!
In 1956 Ralston founded Aero Air, which today is a successful full service Fixed Based Operator. Ralston counts the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, International Council of Air Shows Hall of Fame Award and the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for furthering the cause of aviation safety among his many honors and has been a driving force behind the development of the Hillsboro Airport.
WWI U.S. Army Air Corps, barnstormer, and aerobatics instructor: posthumous
With an aviation career spanning the years between WWI through the end of WWII, Tex Rankin’s aviation enthusiasm inspired thousands of aviators throughout the United States of America. A native of Texas, young John G. Rankin left home at 16 in 1910 in search of adventure and found his way to the United States Army Air Corps. Developing a love of aircraft while serving his country, Rankin made his way to the State of Washington where he learned to fly after his discharge from the Army Air Corps in 1919. Rankin moved to Portland, Oregon, in late 1922 with his strong Texan drawl still in tact. When he started the Rankin Flying Service, he was referred to simply as “Tex”! Before long, many aspiring aviators turned to Rankin for flying lessons. In response, he established the Rankin School of Flight and by 1927, he had instructed over 250 students. More than 60 flying schools nationwide adopted Rankin’s series of booklets, known as The Rankin System of Flying Instruction, which covered all phases of flight and emphasized safety as a priority. When he wasn’t instructing new pilots, Rankin’s Air Circus barnstormed cities and towns throughout the West, with a series of different aircraft, all with a number 13 painted on the side and a black feline passenger for luck. With the advent of WWII, Rankin established the Rankin Aeronautical Academy in Tulare, California, to instruct civilians in aerobatics for the Army Air Corps. During its four and a half year history, the Academy graduated 10,450 cadets, twelve of which became WWII aces. One of America’s greatest pilots, Tex Rankin died in the crash of a Republic Seabee in Klamath Falls, Oregon on a routine business flight in 1947.
Aviation Engineer Business Leader, advisor to Howard R. Hughes: living
During his career, Jack Real worked with many pioneers of aviation and for many aviation industry giants, including Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas. A native of Michigan, Real graduated from Michigan Tech in 1937. Shortly after he went to work for Lockheed, a California Company. While at Lockheed, Real spent his time designing, developing and testing many aircraft including the B-14 Hudson Bomber, the XH-51, the Lockheed model 286 and model 475, and the Cheyenne Helicopter. In 1960 he became the Chief of Engineering Flight Test, in charge of all flight test activities and two years later became Chief Engineer of Research, Development and Testing. During 1964, Real spent most of his time working on the SR-71 project with Lockheed’s engineering genius Kelly Johnson in the Skunk Works. In 1965 he became Vice President and General Manager for the AH-56A Cheyenne Helicopter project, and by 1968 he was responsible for all rotary wing programs at Lockheed. While at Lockheed, Real met Howard Hughes. From 1957 until Hughes’ death in 1976, Real served as his personal advisor. Hughes appointed Real as the Senior Vice President of Aviation, Howard Hughes Corporation (formerly Hughes Tool Company) in 1971; he lived and traveled abroad with Hughes from 1972 to 1976; and in 1979 he became President of Hughes Helicopters, where he guided the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter program. In 1983, under Real’s leadership, Hughes Helicopters received the Robert J. Collier trophy, aviation’s highest honor for achievement in aeronautics in America. He shared the award with Jack Marsh, U.S. Secretary of the Army, Department of the Army. In 1984, Real became President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company (formerly Hughes Helicopter Company) where he remained until his retirement in 1987. Real was instrumental in using his influence to locate the Hughes Flying Boat “Spruce Goose” at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. He is currently Chairman Emeritus of the Museum.
WWII US Commander, 20th Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff: posthumous
General Nathan Farragut Twining’s military career spans two world wars and two branches of service, beginning with Company H of the Third Oregon Infantry where he served as a corporal on Mexican border duty in 1916. Twining began his aviation career at Primary Flying School, Brooks Field, Texas. After earning his pilot’s wings, he became an Air Service instructor and moved to March Field, California in 1926. Twining joined the 18th Pursuit Group at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii in February 1929 and served in various positions before becoming commanding officer of the 26th Attack Squadron. Over the next several years, Twining received a succession of assignments that steadily moved him up the ranks of command.
In January 1943, Twining became Commanding General of the 13th Air Force and was later appointed to Commander, Aircraft, Solomon Islands with tactical command over all Army, Navy, Marine and Allied Air Forces in the South Pacific – one of the earliest Joint Air Commands in US military history. In November 1943, Twining became Commander of the 15th Air Force in Italy. Twining then returned to the Pacific Theater as Commander of the 20th Air Force on August 2, 1945. The 20th Air Force conducted the world’s first atomic bombing missions with Twining in command.
Following the war, Twining held a myriad of assignments before returning to Washington, D.C. He became Air Force Chief of Staff on June 30, 1953 and on August 15, 1957 the first Air Force officer to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During his career, Twining earned numerous American and foreign military decorations. Twining died on March 29, 1982 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.