Midland/Odessa, Texas (PRWEB) September 23, 2013
The CAF Airpower Museum will induct four American veterans and one combat unit into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame (ACAHOF), 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 11, 2013, at the Gloria Denman Ballroom at St. Stephen’s Church, Midland, Texas. This year, the Museum will honor Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr., Ensign Jesse L. Brown (Posthumous Induction), Major Robert J. Bell, Lieutenant Colonel N. G. Brown and The 8th Bomb Squadron of the USAF.
A vision of CAF founder Lloyd P. Nolen, the Hall of Fame was established in 1997 by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) to recognize Americans whose service in the air during any war or conflict reflects credit upon the fighting men and women of the United States. Members and non-members of the CAF make nominations for those to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A committee of the CAF Airpower Museum Board of Directors makes the final selection of the inductees.
Each year the Hall of Fame induction ceremony precedes the CAF’s annual AIRSHO®. The CAF AIRSHO presented by Western National Bank (WNB) 2012 will take place Oct. 12-13, 2013, at the CAF Headquarters adjacent to the Midland International Airport in Midland, Texas.
Tickets to the induction banquet are limited and can be purchased for $100. Please call (432) 563-1000, ext. 2258 for tickets. Ace Sponsorship $3,000 per table includes dining with inductee and seating for six. Top Gun Sponsorship $1,500 per table includes seating for eight. Tickets must be purchased in advance by Oct. 4, 2013.
Biographical information on the inductees follows:
Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr.
A native of Fall River, Mass., Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr. is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and later a renowned Naval Aviator recognized for his service during the Korean War. Hudner received our nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor for his efforts to rescue his wingman, Ensign Jesse L. Brown after he was shot down behind communist lines in North Korea. After having recovered from his rescue attempt Hudner continued to serve with Task Force 77 in and around the Sea of Japan. In 1955, Hudner was assigned to Development Squadron 3 where he trained on experimental jet aircraft.
Hudner attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base. After graduating, he commanded Fighter Squadron 53. With the outbreak of the Vietnam War Hudner was assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk, first as navigator, and subsequently as the executive officer. Hudner retired from the Navy in February 1973.
Ensign Jesse L. Brown (Posthumous Induction)
Brown was the first African-American aviator to serve in the U.S.Navy, where he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and would give his life in the cause of freedom. Born in Hattiesburg, Miss. Brown had a keen interest in aviation which would drive him to enlist in the Navy and pursue the challenge of obtaining his aviator wings.
Brown graduated from flight school in 1949, and was subsequently assigned to the USS Leyte. With the outbreak of the Korean War the USS Leyte was ordered to the Sea of Japan, where Brown, an exceptionally capable pilot and section leader would lead his aircraft against strategic targets on the Korean Peninsula. Brown flew 20 combat missions before being shot down on a search and destroy mission aimed at defending the U.N. troops in the environs of the Chosin Reservoir.
Major Robert J. Bell
Bell led a long and remarkable career with the U.S. Military, having originally volunteered during World War II from his hometown of Peoria, Ill. Bell flew P-40s during World War II, conducting operations against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands, and would later be selected as an instrument instructor. With the conclusion of the war Bell remained in the reserves where he transitioned to the P-51. With the outbreak of the Korean War Bell saw other guard units mobilize for war. When he found out that his assigned unit would not be deploying Bell flew an F-51 to the Pentagon and volunteered his services. Bell would see service in Korea as a member of one of the Air Force’s revolutionary new Tactical Forward Air Control units flying the modified LT-6 Mosquito. Because of the nature of FAC operations in Korea, Bell also spent much of his time fighting among the infantry in the infamous Korean “Punch Bowl.”
After Korea Bell served in Strategic Air Command as a refueling tanker pilot, and later in Vietnam flying Helicopters ordered to recover the Strategic Reconnaissance Drone known as the Ryan Firebee as the exited North Vietnamese airspace.
Lieutenant Colonel N. G. Brown
Born in Odessa, Texas in 1947 Brown was interested in aviation from a young age, having grown up watching the TV Series “Whirlybirds.” Although his interest in flight was not specific to helicopters, Brown decided to volunteer for service in the Army after graduating from Odessa High School in an effort to enroll in flight school. Brown trained in rotary wing flight at Fort Wolters and Fort Rucker. After graduating, Brown was selected for admission into the Cobra school at Hunter Army Air Field in Georgia.
Originally assigned as a member of the 17th Aviation Detachment, Brown arrived in Vietnam and was reassigned to the 1st Cavalry, where he was to serve his tour as a member of the Aerial Rocket Artillery. Early on in Vietnam Brown participated in Operation Delaware, the large-scale effort to seize the A Shau Valley from NVA regulars. Brown later received the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. Returning home in 1969, Brown remained in the Army for a subsequent five years before enrolling in the reserves where he would serve for another 33 years.
The 8th Bomb Squadron of the USAF
The 8th Bomb Squadron has a long and distinguished heritage. It is one of the longest serving units in the history of the U.S. Air Force, having originally been organized at Kelly Field, Texas as the 8th Aero Squadron in 1917. The 8th Bomb Squadron would serve during World War II in the Southwest Pacific alongside the 5th Air Force flying medium bombers in attack roles. While it would later fight in Vietnam and soldiers into modern times, it is the remarkable service during the Korean War that the 8th has been selected for induction into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame. The 8th Bomb Squadron would remain involved in the Korean War from its earliest hours to its grueling end.