In 2007, the RI Aviation Hall of Fame provided Special Recognition awards to the men and women of the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment of the Rhode Island Army National Guard, which was named the Outstanding Army National Guard Aviation Unit of the Year nationwide for 2005. Flying in the Iraqi theater for virtually the […]
Paul Broadnax, the child of two well-known and influential Boston-area classical musicians, played with the Tuskegee Airmen military band and dance band.
Captain William McBrayer Calhoun, USN, Ret. (1948-2015) was a long-time RI resident who graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1967. Capt. Calhoun was a LTJG with the highly decorated Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) 3), nicknamed the “Seawolves”, an all-volunteer squadron formed in support of Naval Special Warfare operations and Mobile Riverine Forces.
Marine Corps Maj. William D. Chesarek was born in Newport, RI. He is the first American to receive Great Britain’s Distinguished Flying Cross since World War II. His exploits involved the daring rescue of a wounded British soldier in Iraq. Queen Elizabeth II presented his award at Buckingham Palace.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. In 2017, RIAHOF helped to honor the RI CAP on […]
Lieutenant Commander Paul Gurnon, USN (Ret.) may be the only living Rhode Islander to have a geographical feature named after him. In recognition of his overall service in Antarctica, the US Geologic Survey named a section of Marie Byrd Land after him – Gurnon Peninsula. Gurnon enlisted in the Navy before Pearl Harbor in 1941, […]
Gerald T. Hanley, Sr. (1884-1950) is considered the founder of the Rhode Island Air National Guard. Then-1st Lt. Hanley of Battery A, Coast Artillery, in the RI state militia used his own Curtiss hydro-aeroplane to provide basic aeronautics instruction to members of his battery well before the US entry into World War I. Early flier […]
LT Norman Prince (1887-1916) was the 55th American to earn a pilot’s license (1911). He is best known as one of the founders of the famed Lafayette Escadrille, the group of American volunteer pilots who flew for France before the US entered World War I.
So far we can document 15 Tuskegee Airmen from this state, three of whom died during their service: 2/LT William E. Hill of Narragansett Flight Officer William P. Armstrong of Providence 2/LT Walter S. Gladding of Providence The first black pilot from Rhode Island to graduate from the Tuskegee program was 2/LT William E. Hill […]
Military aviation has been a major part of Rhode Island’s history, starting with James and Ezra Allen, who flew observation balloons for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fixed wing involvement started when Gerald Hanley joined the Rhode Island National Guard in 1915. As a lieutenant in Battery A of the Coast Artillery, he […]
The Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame honored the four Rhode Island women who flew as WASP during World War II. These women are Phyllis Marsden Johnson Paradis, Bea St. Claire Smith Thurston, Ann Kenyon Morse, and Eunice Oates. The WASP program grew out of efforts led by noted aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran to integrate women […]