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Pioneering Marine aviator chosen for National Hall of Fame award

Published: Monday, August 28, 2017 @ 5:30 AM


            The late Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen CONTRIBUTED
The late Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen CONTRIBUTED

The first African-American Marine Corps officer to become an aviator and reach the rank of general was chosen for the 2017 Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award, the National Aviation Hall of Fame has announced.

The late Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen will be honored at the NAHF enshrinement dinner Oct. 28 in Fort Worth, Texas.

“He continually strove to not let anyone stop him whether it was race or any other reason,” said NAHF Executive Director Amy Spowart, who noted the award was announced by coincidence on the second anniversary of his death Friday.

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The Topeka, Kansas native enlisted as a Navy sailor in 1950, and later entered the naval aviation cadet program before he became a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He flew 350 combat missions during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he was once shot down in a F-4 Phantom.

He was the first African American to lead a fighter squadron, an air group and major base, the New York Times reported in a 2015 obituary.

He endured racism in the military, the newspaper reported. A recruiter told him to retake an entrance exam because he suspected he had cheated; he was pushed to become a mess steward in the Navy because of his race; and he was ejected off a bus in Florida during training because he refused to sit in the back with other black passengers, the New York Times reported. When Petersen arrived for his first day of training at a Marine Corps Air Station in California, a captain had him arrested claiming he was impersonating a military officer, the Times article said.

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While in the Marine Corps, he received decorations such as the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit recognizing valor in combat, a Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service medal, and Navy and Air Force commendation medals, among others.

Petersen died at age 83 of lung cancer in Stevensville, Md., the Times reported.

Other recipients of the Armstrong award were Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell in 2015, and Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan in 2016.

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Top Gun pilot to speak at film screening

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 6:04 PM


            The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

A real-life Top Gun is scheduled to be at a screening of Top Gun 3D at the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Retired Navy Capt. Ken Ginader, a former Top Gun instructor and F-14 pilot, was set to speak at the screening of film, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Ginader is the first speaker in the 2018 Living History Film Series at the museum.

Tickets cost $12 for audience members, or $10 for members of Friends of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

For more information, click onto http://www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory .

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Wright-Patt training exercise sets off booms

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:22 PM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
            STAFF/File
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base(STAFF/File)

If you heard a loud noise today at Wright-Patterson, it was all part of training, a base spokesman says.

The Dayton Daily News and News Center 7 were contacted by residents inquiring what was the cause of the explosion.

A Wright-Patterson Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb squad was scheduled to set off three explosions between noon and 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to base spokesman Daryl Mayer.

The unit periodically sets off explosions in training which are often heard outside the base.

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Book chronicles heroism of war correspondents like OSU’s Cecil Brown

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 4:49 PM

As he scanned the names of the past winners of the Peabody award for broadcast journalism, Reed Smith, a professor of journalism at Georgia Southern University, came across the name Cecil Brown of CBS and admitted he “had never heard of him before.”

It began a four-year effort by Smith that culminated last November in the release of his book, “Cecil Brown: The Murrow Boy Who Became Broadcasting’s Crusader for Truth.” It’s the story of an Ohio State University student from 1929 who reached the pinnacle of broadcast journalism during World War II and the era of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

Smith became fascinated with Brown’s story and it is easy to see why. As a CBS Radio broadcaster in Singapore in December 1941 he nearly lost his life when Japanese torpedo bombers sank the British battlecruiser Repulse in the South China Sea. Brown was a correspondent on the Repulse.

His gripping minute-by-minute account of the disaster for CBS, which also included the destruction of the British battleship Prince of Wales, earned him the Peabody award and transformed him into one of the best-known correspondents of World War II.

“There were upwards of a thousand sailors who died during that attack,” Smith said. “He was not wounded during attack and fortunately was able to get off the ship. A British sailor reached out in the water off a Carley Float and grabbed him. Cecil thought he had just about had it. It was pretty miraculous.”

Brown also was known for his legendary battles with Italian and British censors in World II as they tried to block or alter his broadcasts, prompting Smith to describe Brown as “very feisty. He was a big First Amendment guy and he became quite exasperated when anybody tried to curtail his freedom of the press.”

RELATED: Cecil Brown’s obituary

For Smith, 68, it was a case of one Ohio man meeting another. Smith, a graduate of Ohio University who earned an M.A. from Bowling Green and then a Ph.D from Ohio University, grew up in New Concord. Brown, who died in 1987, was raised in Warren, married a woman from Columbus who is still alive in Los Angeles at age 104.

He left Ohio State nine hours short of a degree in 1929 and worked as a reporter for a number of years before Edward R. Murrow hired him at CBS Radio in 1940 and assigned him to cover the war from Rome.

Brown reported in an entirely different era than today when journalists are under relentless attacks from President Donald Trump and many conservatives.

“It tells us the public view of journalism has changed drastically over the past 70 years,” Smith said. “Murrow and Cecil were seen as heroes. They were brave men in the war zone telling the truth for what was going on and continuing to get in trouble for telling the truth.”

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Work to start next month on $10.5 million Wright-Patt gateway

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 5:30 PM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO
            Jim Witmer
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO(Jim Witmer)

A new $10.5 million gateway that will consolidate two Wright-Patterson entrances into one is set to begin construction next month, a base spokesman says.

A new Gate 26A, a few hundred yards from the current one, would replace a commercial delivery entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444, and the existing Gate 26A off Ohio 235 near the entrance to the 445th Airlift Wing headquarters.

The new entrance way off Ohio 235 will be sited between Sandhill Road and Circle Drive, according to Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Work was scheduled for completion at the end of next year, the base said.

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