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.
Pawtucket native Thomas G. Corcoran (1899-1981) played a pivotal role in the establishment of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers.
Over the past 22 years, long-time Warwick resident and Navy Korean War veteran Stanley R. Essex, Jr., has virtually single-handedly restored two wrecked warbirds to magnificent display condition: a WWII-era Navy Hellcat fighter for the Quonset Air Museum, and the F9F Panther jet known as the “Ted Williams Airplane” for the Rhode Island Aviation Hall […]
Woonsocket native and lifelong Rhode Island resident CDR Paul G. Farley, USN (Ret) (1917-1993) survived the sinking of the battleship USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor and went on to earn two Distinguished Flying Crosses and five Air Medals while flying 600 combat hours in the Pacific.
Long-time Wakefield resident LCDR John “Jack” Greenwell, USN (Ret) (1922–2011) earned the Navy Cross, our nation’s second-highest military decoration, for dive-bombing and sinking a Japanese cruiser in April, 1945. Although he was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Greenwell lived in Rhode Island for the better part of his life. He was a standout […]
East Greenwich resident LCDR Robert McCollough, USN (Ret) 1924-2008 posted a record of more than 50 years of achievement in military and commercial aviation in the State of Rhode Island. Bob enlisted in the Navy in 1943 after graduating from high school in Pennsylvania. Trained as a fighter pilot, Ensign McCollough flew F4F Wildcats from […]
Harrisville resident Joel Rawson, best known locally for his lengthy and distinguished career at the Providence Journal, has had a life-long love affair with flying. His Vietnam combat flying experience was so secret that most people have never heard of his airplane or its mission. He was an original member of the Richmond Flying Club […]
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 […]