• Civil Air Patrol seeks Congressional Gold Medal

    Posted on April 9th, 2012 John Dorcey No comments

    Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is the most recent cosponsor of senate bill S.418. He signed the bill on March 26, 2012. So far five Wisconsin representatives have cosponsored the house version, H.R.719. The bills, if passed, will award the Congressional Gold Medal to World War II veterans of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Representative Bob Fisner (D-CA) introduced the bill on February 15, 2011. He has since been joined by 163 cosponsors. The Senate bill was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on February 28, 2011. Johnson brings the total senate cosponsors to 82.

    You might wonder what the Civil Air Patrol did to be considered for this prestigious award. The Coastal Patrol, as the CAP was originally known, was created by presidential executive order on December 1, 1941 as part of the Office of Civilian Defense. Antisubmarine operations using civilian volunteer pilots, flying their personal aircraft, began in March, 1942. The program lasted for 18 months. The civilian patrol experiment was an overwhelming success.

    During the 18 months of combat operations the Coastal Patrol sank two enemy submarines and attacked another 57. That success came with a cost. The Coastal Patrol lost 90 aircraft at sea, 26 crew members were killed, and seven were seriously injured. Fairchild Model 24s and Stinson 10As were two of the more common aircraft used but many other types were pressed into service. As the program developed, aircraft were armed with 50 and 100-pound bombs and 325-pound depth charges. The program began operations from three bases eventually growing to 21 facilities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

    WAHF inductee Logan A. “Jack” Vilas was active in the Coastal Patrol and founded an unofficial club for Coastal Patrol personnel. Coastal Patrol pilots who, during a mission, made a forced landing on the water were made members of the Duck Club. By the end of the 18 month program, 114 pilots survived a forced water landing. Pilots from 16 of the 21 Coastal Patrol bases were club members.

    The Coastal Patrol flew other than antisubmarine missions – target towing, search and rescue, border patrol, disaster relief, and emergency transport. During the war 60,000 adult members had volunteered to serve their country through the Coastal Patrol. A total of 824 Air Medals were awarded by executive order of the president for service as flight crew on antisubmarine missions for the Coastal Patrol. By the end of the conflict nearly 750,000 flight hours had been logged, while 150 aircraft were lost, and 64 members killed. Like the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) these aviators had been promised veteran’s benefits. Benefits never materialized for either group. The WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

    You can assist the CAP Congressional Gold Medal recognition effort in two ways. First, contact your senator and representative and ask them to support S.418 or H.R.719. Second, help locate CAP veterans. If you, or someone you know, served in the CAP between December 7, 1941 and August 15, 1945 and was 18 years old, or older, during that time you or they will be eligible for the award. Upload their information into the World War II Congressional Gold Medal database, or send it to Holley Dunigan.

    FMI: http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/guarding.html
    http://www.capmembers.com/media/cms/Gold_Medal_Feature__Swain_3CEB7EED6ABEB.pdf

  • History comes alive

    Posted on March 31st, 2012 John Dorcey No comments

    There are many opportuntities for you to experience Wisconsin’s history come alive this spring. The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame will be participating in some of these events and attending others. We hope to see you there.

    West Allis Historical Society

    April 16
    History of Mitchell International Airport
    West Allis Historical Society
    West Allis
    The West Allis Historical Society will host a presentation by long-time Mitchell Gallery of Flight director Chuck Boie. Boie, a retired corporate illustrator from Milwaukee, is an expert on the airport’s history. The Mitchell Gallery of Flight is a museum located within the airport’s terminal. The presentation includes numerous images, many of which are not available elsewhere.

    The West Allis Historical Society is located at 8405 West National Avenue.  The program begins at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public.

     

    May 3
    Wisconsin Veterans Museum (WVM) Gala
    Monona Terrace
    Madison
    The Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s (WVM) Foundation will hold its annual fund raiser on Thursday, May 3. The event, held at the Monona Terrace, will include a reception, dinner, and booksigning. The evening’s keynote address features historian and writer Hugh Ambrose. Ambrose, author of The Pacific, served as historical consultant for the HBO miniseries of the the same name. Ambrose will share his journey in writing the book and work on the video series.

    Tickets are available online or by phone at 608-264-6086. All proceeds from the event support the development of educational programs and exhibits at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

     

    May 4
    Operation Greatest Generation
    National
    Railroad Museum
    Green Bay
    A day-long celebration and recognition for the Wisconsin men and women who shaped the course of history during World War II. Actvities include WWII vehicle exhibit, WWII re-enactors, tours of General Eisenhower’s European command train, and the 132nd Army Band. Featured guest speakers include Hugh Ambrose, author of The Pacific, and James Magellas, WWII veteran and author of All the Way to Berlin.

    Operation Greatest Generation runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all veterans, their guests and the public. The National Railroad Museum is located at 2285 South Broadway in Green Bay. An RSVP is strongly encouraged. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum website or call 608-266-1009. Additonal information and directions to the National Railroad Museum are avilable at their website.

     

    2012 Wisconsin Aviation Conference logoMay 7-9
    Wisconsin Aviation Conference
    Chula Vista Resort
    Wisconsin Dells
    The 57th annual conference, the one conference where all of Wisconsin aviation meets, is scheduled for May 7-9. There will be 12 educational sessions including the following topics: NextGen, marketing techniques, attracting and retaining FBOs, aviation insurance, and airport economic impact statements. Beyond the educational opportunities, there will be association meetings, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities.

    The conference is sponsored by the Wisconsin Airport Management Association, Wisconsin Aviation Trades Association, Wisconsin Business Aviation Association, aviation consultants and suppliers. The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame is one of more than 40 exhibitors. Additional information is available at www.wiama.org or by calling 715-358-2802.