Jack Everling enlisted in the Navy V-5 program in 1945, but did not get to flight school until 1947–and thanks to severe cutbacks in Navy flying did not get his wings until 1949. He flew Skyraiders in combat in Korea–102 missions off the USS Princeton; then in 1955 became the first Air Department officer aboard […]
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, […]
COL Russell Johnson (1926-2014), affectionately referred to as “Mr. Army National Guard Aviation”, took his first flight with his dad in 1929 and earned his private pilot license in 1943. He would eventually become one of the most experienced aviators in Rhode Island Army Aviation history.
Major Melvin Kimball is a World War II P-40 ace who was born in Providence and grew up in Greystone. He graduated from Hope High School in 1935, where he was a state champion wrestler. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1939, excelling in football and track. Kimball was one of the […]
CAPT John A. Romano, USN (Ret) is a retired Navy Captain and long-time East Greenwich resident. John Romano’s role in RI aviation history is broader than his service and accomplishments as a Naval Aviator. With war clouds on the horizon in the late 1930s, the Navy appropriated the Romano family’s 400-acre Davisville farm, vineyards and […]
A long-time Warwick resident, Albert Tavani is credited with bringing the state airport system from its infancy in the 1940s to the full-service network that now exists. When he retired at the end of 1977, Green Airport was greatly expanded, numerous airlines were serving Rhode Island, and there were five state airports in addition to […]
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 […]