Arizona Wing Aviation Museum
SPECIAL INAUGURAL TRIBUTE EVENT TO RECOGNIZE THE FIRST INDUCTEES TO THE CAF ARIZONA WING AVIATION MUSEUM’S WALK OF HONOR
PHOENIX – The Commemorative Air Force (“CAF”) Arizona Wing Aviation Museum, located at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, announced today the inauguration of its Walk of Honor as a tribute recognizing the contributions by Arizonans to the field of military aviation. Inductees will be honored for their achievement with the installation of a special bronze plaque at the Museum.
The inauguration will be celebrated at a dinner recognizing the first inductees on Saturday evening, February 18, 2012 at the Phoenix Hilton East-Mesa Hotel, 1011 W. Holmes, Mesa, Arizona 85210. Cocktails will be from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Dinner and the induction ceremony will follow. Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris, Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB will be the keynote speaker.
The first six inductees into the Arizona Military Aviation Walk of Honor include: Lieutenant Frank Luke, Major Fred Ferguson, Rear Admiral W. L. Chatham, Mr. Sergei Sikorsky, Major Joseph Foss and Dr. Harry Robertson. Inductees are native, resident or former resident Arizonans, living or deceased, who made noteworthy contributions to the field of military aviation. They are selected based upon achievement in a variety of categories, including flying, engineering, manufacturing, operations, education or other commendable aviation-related achievements.
Tickets for the Induction Dinner will be available starting January 21, 2012 at www.azcaf.org or at the CAF Arizona Wing Aviation Museum, 2015 N. Greenfield Road, Mesa, AZ, 85215. For more information visit www.azcaf.org or call the Museum at 480-924-1940 or 480-268-2144. The CAF Arizona Military Aviation Walk of Honor has been officially recognized as an Arizona Centennial event.
The CAF Arizona Wing Aviation Museum is operated by the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. Organized in 1978 as the Arizona chapter of the Commemorative Air Force, the Wing’s mission is to restore and preserve historically important aircraft and related memorabilia in order to educate the public about the significant contributions made by men and women in the defense of the Nation.
2012 WALK OF HONOR INDUCTEE PROFILES
Lt Frank Luke, the “Arizona Balloon Buster”; 5/19/1897-9/29/1918 (KIA) Born in Phoenix, AZ; Nominated by Don Luke. 27th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group; WWI ace Recipient of the Medal of Honor, In seventeen days in September, 1918, in just nine days of combat flying, ten missions, and only thirty hours of flight time, he shot down fourteen enemy balloons and four aircraft making him America’s second ranking ace in World War One. Lt. Luke was the first airman and first Arizonan to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Luke AFB is named after Frank Luke.
Sergei Sikorsky has distinguished himself through his efforts directed toward the advancement or improvement of the helicopter industry. He flew some of the earliest helicopter search and rescue missions while serving with the US Coast Guard helicopter development squadron, and participated in the testing and demonstration of the earliest helicopter rescue hoists. He retired in 1992 as Vice President, Special Projects, Sikorsky Aircraft Company and remains active with the company as a consultant.
Maj. Fred E. Ferguson, AUS was cited for conspicuous gallantry for his actions on 31 January 1968 during the battle for Hue in saving the lives of five of his comrades at the risk of his own life. For actions above and beyond the call of duty, then CWO Ferguson was awarded the nation’s highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor.
Maj. Joe Foss, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve received the Medal of Honor for outstanding heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as executive officer of VMF-121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, at Guadalcanal. Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from 9 October to 19 November 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable.
Rear Admiral Lew Chatham, USN (Retired) received his commission as a Naval Officer in June, 1956. As an aviator, Chatham served in both attack and fighter squadrons. He has flown approximately 5,000 hours in over 30 different aircraft types and logged 1100 carrier arrested landings with 300 of those at night. Chatham commanded Attack Squadron 56, Carrier Air Wing Five, USS Hassaypana, USS Kitty Hawk, Carrier Air Group Six, and Task Force 70/77, Air Group Five. Chatham also served on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Aviation, Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet, Commander Seventh Fleet, Commander US Naval Forces Japan, and Commander Light Attack Wings Pacific. His awards include the Legion of Merit (6), the Distinguished Flying Cross (4), the Bronze star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air medal (10), the Navy Commendation Medal with 4 “V” clusters and the strike Flight Air Medal (35). Chatham retired in June 1987 after 31 years of service. He and his wife reside in Tucson, AZ.
Dr. Harry S. Robertson has made unique contributions to Army aviation and aviation in general. These contributions can be summed up in three words – “They saved lives!” Thousands of Army pilots, crewmen and passengers who might otherwise have died in helicopter accidents are living tribute to Robertson, who pioneered crashworthy fuel systems.