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Medal of Honor Recipient


There is no biographical file for pilot Schilt in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.


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Christian Franklin Schilt was a Marine Corp aviator (he became the nation’s 46th naval pilot on June 5, 1919, two years after enlisting in the Marine Corps) who landed twice at Tucson. His first visit was on Tuesday, December 14, 1926. He was solo in Boeing A-6892. Based at Quantico, VA, he was westbound from El Paso, TX to San Diego, CA. He identified his flight in the remarks column of the Register as a, "Transcontinental flight."

Christian Franklin Schilt, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)
Christian Frank Schilt, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)

The Aircraft Yearbook for 1927, page 82, documents his flight. It states, "During the year [1926] several trans-continental flights were made very largely for the purpose of ferrying aircraft. Among these were the flights from Quantico to San Diego of six Boeing FB-1 fighters, five DH observation machines and one Douglas OD-1 observation plane...."

From the Register, Schilt landed at the same time (4:30PM) with at least eight other Marine Corp aircraft, six of which were Boeings. C.C. Jerome and Ross Rowell were among the pilots accompanying Schilt, as were a single deHavilland DH and a single Douglas O-2C. They all remained overnight at Tucson, departing next day at 12:45PM.

Schilt stayed in San Diego about a week. We find him landing at Tucson the second time on Wednesday, December 22, 1926 at 10:45AM. This time he carried passenger Sgt. J.J. Hockman in the deHavilland DH-4B1, A-6127. He was eastbound to El Paso, TX. He wrote in the remarks column of the Register, "From sunny California to cloudy Virginia."

He was accompanied by two Boeing O-2Bs eastbound, each pilot noting in the remarks that they were headed home. We can hope that, with a little tailwind, they all made it home before Christmas.

Of interest is that Schilt's visits at Tucson came on the heels of his winning of the Schneider International Seaplane Race, Norfolk, Virginia, in November, flying a special Curtiss Racer at a speed of 231.3 miles per hour over 7 laps of a triangular 50-kilometer course.

Schilt was assigned to Central America in 1927. In Central America in the late 1920s, Managua, Nicaragua was cited frequently in Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletters because of the armed conflict going on there that involved U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Squadron aviators and aircraft. It was here that Schilt earned his Congressional Medal of Honor.  He received the Medal June 9, 1928 as reported in the BuAeroNews of June 13th, below. 

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, June 13, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, June 13, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)

Below, courtesy of site visitor Janine Passenheim, are two paintings (by James Dietz) that depict Schilt's flights into Quilali.

Schilt on the Ground at Quilali, Nicaragua, Ca. January, 1928 (Source: Lt. Col. Joseph N.M. Berger)
Schilt on the Ground at Quilali, Nicaragua, Ca. January, 1928 (Source: Lt. Col. Joseph N.M. Berger)


Schilt on Approach at Quilali, Nicaragua, Ca. January, 1928 (Source: Lt. Col. Joseph N.M. Berger)
Schilt on Approach at Quilali, Nicaragua, Ca. January, 1928 (Source: Lt. Col. Joseph N.M. Berger)

Below, ten years later and promoted to captain. Despite Navy regulations, Schilt made it a habit to wear his Medal of Honor ribbon above his aviator's wings, because, "Nothing is worthy of being worn above the Medal of Honor." It is clear from this photograph that he adopted that habit sometime after July, 1937. Later photos found online do show the ribbon worn in that way.

Christian Franklin Schilt (Captain), July 19, 1937 (Source: Smithsonian)
Christian Franklin Schilt (Captain), July 19, 1937 (Source: Smithsonian)

Below, from Popular Aviation (PA) , magazine, March, 1939, Shilt appears in an article about Marine Corps aviation. His flights that led to his Medal of Honor were reviewed in the article. Compare this aerial photograph of Quilali with the painting on the postcard, above.

Christian Schilt, Popular Aviation, March, 1939 (Source: PA)
Christian Schilt, Popular Aviation, March, 1939 (Source: PA)

As would befit his accomplishments, Schilt enjoys a good Web presence to this day. This Wikipedia link exhibits a photograph of his Medal ceremony with a dour President Coolidge. It also provides an overview of his military career. The official U.S. Naval Historical Center biography with photographs is at the link. Details of the actions surrounding earning his Medal of Honor are at this link.

He rose through the ranks to General during WWII, seeing action in the Pacific. A brief film of Schilt is at the link. I believe he is the second from left among the officers sitting on the steps. He was probably Assistant Chief of Staff, 1st Marine Air Wing in this film, which was taken December 18, 1942 on Guadalcanal.

Shilt was born March 18, 1895 and died January 8, 1987. Below, his headstone from the Arlington National Cemetery.

Christian Franklin Schilt, March 18, 1895-January 8, 1987 (Source: Web)
Christian Franklin Schilt, March 18, 1895-January 8, 1987 (Source: Web)

As well as his Web presence, he continues to be honored to this day. An article published August 19, 2011 about the upcoming 70th anniversary of Marine Air Station, Cherry Point states, "In honor of his service for the Marine Corps and at Cherry Point, the base’s new headquarters building will be named in his honor during an upcoming ceremony."

UPDATE of June 10, 2013 I heard from General Schilt's daughter who states, "Two years ago, the new Headquarters Building at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point N.C. was dedicated to my father.  It bears his name.  I sent them such information as I had as well as pictures for the event, and gave  a brief address at the dedication ceremony."


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 08/27/11 REVISED: 06/10/13, 07/03/14

The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Schilt and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.
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