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Your Webmaster Speaking

On September 28-October 6, 2005, your Webmaster flew to Tucson on an aggressive schedule of work. On September 29th I spoke to the monthly luncheon meeting of the Order of Daedalians at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Officers Club. The Order is comprised of United States commissioned, warrant or flight officer military pilots, (prop, turboprop, jet, fixed wing, rotary wing) regardless of branch of service, of powered, heavier-than-air aircraft who are on active duty, retired, in the National Guard or Reserve, or who have separated under honorable conditions, and all WASP. The order was founded in 1935 at Maxwell Field, AL.

At the meeting, I spoke briefly and generally about this website and how it was developed. Then I spoke specifically about some of the Order pilots who signed the Davis-Monthan Register between 1925 and 1936 (please refer, for example, to R. Birnn, L.H. Dawson, F.I. Eglin, H.L. George, C. Howard and D.J. Keirn).

Fully 24 of the 35 founding members of the Order signed the Register. Do the math. That's close to 70% of founders; an astounding statistic considering that Army Air Corps bases at the time were distributed across the United States.

Webmaster with Hoot Gibson

What was post-lunch discussion like, you ask? Well, consider being able to speak with pilots who flew Mustangs to A-4s, to A-10s, and all the fixed- and rotary-wing transport and combat aircraft in between you can think of. And consider the fact that most pilots are garrulous by nature. And that, with all good humor, most of them are hard of hearing. The level and breadth of conversation and laughter were impressive. At left is your Webmaster with the modest, yet irrepressible, Ralph "Hoot" Gibson.

Below, 62 members of the Order, including Col. Gibson, attended the luncheon. I was invited and hosted by Lt. Col. (Ret) Alan Thomas, a member of the Order.

Order of Daedalians Pilots at Lunch 2005


On Sunday, October 2nd there was a gathering at Col. Thomas' home. The purpose was to bring together principals from the Tucson area with some experience or expertise with the old Davis-Monthan Airfield. Included was the Hudgin family, who operated the FBO at the old Airfield in the 1930s.

Tucson Group

Some of those principals are shown in the photo at left. From left to right they are: Don McDonald, Alan Thomas, George Monthan, Your Webmaster, Henry Hudgin, Alfred Hudgin, Louis Hudgin.

How have these proud people touched the Davis-Monthan Airfield and the Register? Don McDonald remembers seeing pilots and visitors to the old Airfield sign the original Register. His recollections helped identify some of the buildings and the locations of lighting on the old field. I've added his memories to the Airfield page. Significantly, Mr. McDonald was a pilot for J. Parker Van Zandt's Scenic Airways.

Furthermore, Alan Thomas, our host, learned how to fly at the old Airfield in 1938, before it became the present Air Force Base. George Monthan is the nephew of Oscar Monthan, after whom the Airfield is named. He provided to our website an important image, which you can see near the bottom of the page for Lindbergh's NX-211. The Hudgins are, respectively, brother, great nephew and nephew of Al Hudgin, the FBO operator at the Airfield during the 1930s. In turn, Al Hudgin, the elder, taught Alan Thomas how to fly.

Next, I spent a couple of days at the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson, and in Phoenix with Louis Hudgin who allowed me to scan for our website some of the images and memorabilia passed down by his uncle. These images appear, and will appear, in various places on the site, not the least of which is the page for pilot Marie Graham.

Thanks, Alan, the Order of Daedalians, and all the Hudgins, for the great time!!


UPLOADED: 01/14/06 REVISED: 02/16/05

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