Community honors 101st anniversary of first military flight
March 11, 2011
By Lori Newman
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Two T-6A Texan II jets flew over MacArthur Field March 2 marking the 101st anniversary of the first military flight completed by Lt. Benjamin Foulois from that very field.
Each year the Stinsons Flight No. 2 Order of Daedalians and the Jack Dibrell/Alamo Chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the Fort Sam Houston flagpole, where a stone marker stands in honor of Foulois' contribution to military aviation history.
The Order of Daedalians was founded in 1934 by Army pilots from World War I. The organization supports programs to improve flight safety and encourages young people to become interested in military flight and aeronautical careers.
There are 65 flights and more than 14,000 pilots in the Order. The Stinsons Flight was chartered in 1964 in honor of the four Flying Stinsons - Katherine, Marjorie, Eddie and Jack A,A- for their contributions to aviation history in San Antonio.
The Army Aviation Association of America was founded in 1957 to bring together individuals and corporations engaged in the Army aviation community. Its purpose is to support the aviation Soldier and family.
The association provides scholarships and award programs, and supports lifelong recognition of aviation professionals. The Alamo Chapter is named for Col. Jack Dibrell, master Army aviator, killed in 1977.
Air Force Col. Lex Brown, vice flight captain, The Stinsons Flight No. 2, described Foulois' first flight saying, "Lt. Benjamin Foulois flew a Wright Flyer Type A, labeled Aeroplane No. 1 for the first government military airplane, and made military aviation history with his first solo take-off, first solo landing and first crash all in one day."
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Air Force Col. Lee "Bru" Archambault, an astronaut who explained to a captivated audience what it was like to fly in the space shuttle.
Archambault was the pilot on space shuttle STS-117 and the commander of space shuttle STS-119. He has logged a total of 27 days in space.
"Certainly, without a doubt, Foulois was one of aviation history's pioneers," Archambault said. "Every one of us who have flown a military aircraft knows we fly on the back of these pioneers.
"Without those air and space pioneers, we would not be where we are today," the astronaut said. "We own them a debt of gratitude."