posted 08-25-2004 08:00 AM
Legendary NASA Flight Director to Pilot Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
OKLAHOMA CITY - A Highway Patrol aviation pioneer, decorated wartime heroes, a revered NASA Engineer and others will join the ranks as Oklahoma's top aviation advocates with induction into the 2004 Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony and dinner, Saturday, Sept. 25 at Omniplex.
Oklahoma radio celebrity and flight enthusiast, Dan Stroud, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the 25th annual black-tie event that will recognize select individuals whose vision and accomplishments have helped to initiate positive growth and contributed to significant change in the fields of aerospace and aviation in Oklahoma. Stroud will welcome the evening's honored speaker, Gene Kranz, whose worldwide fame was garnered through his role as NASA Flight Director for 33 missions of Projects Gemini, Apollo and Skylab, and was portrayed by actor Ed Harris in the blockbuster movie Apollo 13.
Even though Dan Stroud is a fixture of broadcasting in Oklahoma, with over twenty-one years as half of the Dave & Dan Morning Show on 96.1 KXY-FM radio, his passion has always been with aviation. He first soloed a sailplane in Guthrie at the age of 14 and currently holds commercial, instrument and flight instructor ratings, plus Rotorcraft and Sailplane ratings, and has competed in and taught aerobatics for over eighteen years.
Flight Director, pilot, engineer, motivational speaker, author, husband and father encompass one of NASA's most decorated veterans and this year's hall of fame honored speaker. After 37 years in federal service, Gene Kranz's vast contributions to space exploration have resulted in his participation of launching pivotal exploration missions, engineering cutting-edge aviation technology and playing a significant role in shaping the future of manned space flight. A graduate of Parks College of St. Louis University, he held several leadership positions during his tenure at NASA in Mission Operations as well as the Director of Mission Operations for the Shuttle Program. Kranz is a New York Times best selling author for Failure is Not an Option, chronicling his experiences in Mission Control during the early years of manned spaceflight. He is a co-recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Nixon for the Apollo 13 Mission, and was elected a Distinguished Member of the Senior Executive Service by President Reagan.
The following honorees will be inducted during the awards presentation at Omniplex:
John W. Aaron
Former Oklahoma resident John W. Aaron retired as Chief of the Systems Engineering Office at the Johnson Space Center where he was responsible for designing and providing space flight hardware, astronaut equipment and design engineering analysis products in support of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) Programs. Over his 35-year career, Aaron distinguished himself as a leader with exceptional technical and managerial judgment. Early in his career as a flight controller in the Houston Mission Control Center he earned widespread recognition for his outstanding efforts in dealing with the most complex spacecraft problems during the Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 missions, where he is credited with saving the lives of the Apollo 13 crew. He is a proven leader and motivator, committed to the concept of team building and possesses a unique ability to draw upon a team's array of talents. Aaron graduated from Vinson High School, Vinson, Okla. and from Southwestern State College in Weatherford, Okla. with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and math before starting his career with NASA.
Dana D. Batey
Dana Batey was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Okla. Batey's long and distinguished military career has spanned from the Korean and Vietnam wars to Desert Storm. During his active duty career he rose from the rank of private to Brigadier General as Assistant Adjutant General of Oklahoma. He has served full time duty in aviation assignments throughout his National Guard career and was responsible for the development, planning and construction of three major Army Aviation facilities located in Norman, Lexington and Tulsa, Okla., that included a battalion size Special Operation and Support element with 550 personnel and 65 aircraft. After 48 years of leadership and accomplishment in both military and civilian aviation, Batey retired from the commission directorship in Jan. 1999. He continues to promote aviation serving as a volunteer for Oklahoma's veterans and youth through the Oklahoma City chapter of the Military Order of World Wars.
William E. Collins, PhD
An Oklahoma City resident since 1961, Dr. William E. Collins, a psychologist, is the only non-medical doctor to have been appointed to the position as Director of the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. Serving as Director from August 1989 to January 2001, he initiated and defined CAMI's successful drive to achieve "World Class" status, an achievement marked by frequent internal and external, national and international recognition of CAMI employees, products and services. CAMI became the role model for the development of civil aeromedical institutes in other countries. Dr. Collins has also received many awards for his scientific contributions to aviation safety while a researcher and laboratory manager at CAMI from 1961-1989, based upon numerous research publications, presentations and films related to spatial disorientation, sensory processes and stressor effects on performance.
Arthur (Art) M. Hamilton (deceased)
Raised in Clinton, Okla., Hamilton trained as both a skilled pilot and state trooper, Arthur M. Hamilton combined his deep passion for both the Highway Patrol and flying into a dual career. He received his wings in 1942 and immediately began training for his commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. He became a flight trainer for U.S. Navy pilots and a bomber ferry pilot. In 1944 he joined the 9th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy and began his career as a state trooper. With a pioneering spirit he took to the skies to prove the efficiency and effectiveness of airborne law enforcement. Hamilton is recognized by law enforcement agencies nationwide as the first pioneer in the use of speed enforcement from the air, making Oklahoma the first state in the United States to use aircraft for these purposes. His accomplishments have made aviation a critical and integral part of law enforcement today.
Edward (Gillis) Johnson
Lone Wolf resident Edward Johnson is a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam and an exemplary "Citizen-Soldier" serving both the Oklahoma City community and the USAF Reserve Forces. Johnson flew 103 combat missions during WWII and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor. His distinguished military career also included being the first United States Air Force Advisor to the Peruvian Air Force, the founding Commander of the 137th Fighter Wing and achieving the distinction of becoming the first Major General to serve as Chief of Staff of the Oklahoma National Guard. As a citizen soldier he was a founding member of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Air Force Association and served as Chairman and President of many military associations all while holding positions of higher leadership in the USAF Reserve and the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
In addition to the 2004 inductees, one person will be honored with The Clarence E. Page Memorial Trophy, given to an individual who has shown dedication to the promotion and/or progress of the aerospace industry in Oklahoma.
This year's Page Trophy recipient, Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, has been making history in Oklahoma since 1994 when she was elected the state's first woman and first Republican Lieutenant Governor. Fallin originated the concept and was appointed by Governor Henry as Chairman of the Oklahoma Task Force on Aviation to strengthen Oklahoma's aerospace companies, attract new aerospace businesses, inventory Oklahoma's aerospace assets and analyze Oklahoma aviation strengths and weaknesses. The results of the task force will focus on moving Oklahoma toward aggressive future initiatives to recruit aviation industries such as the Burns Flat Spaceport, the first inland spaceport in the United States. Fallin hosted the first annual Lieutenant Governor's Aerospace Summit and Expo which connected decision makers from the aerospace, education and military arenas to network and share ideas for the future of aerospace in Oklahoma. In addition, Fallin holds a distinguished position as the National Chairman of the Aerospace States Association. In addition to several state advocated accomplishments, she is only three hours away for qualifying for her private pilot's license, has completed the pinch hitter course of the Ninety-Nine's Association and has been a member of the Oklahoma Pilot's Association since 1984.
The Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame was established 25 years ago to honor Oklahomans who have made significant contributions to the advancement of aviation, the exploration of space, the development of the aviation and aerospace industries or the development and use of aviation in the U.S. military. Non-Oklahomans who have made significant contributions to aviation or aerospace progress within the state of Oklahoma are also eligible for induction.
This year's Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame sponsors include The Boeing Company, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Cole & Reed, P.C.
To become a sponsor of the event or to purchase individual tickets, call (405) 602-3673. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the induction ceremonies at 7 p.m.
For more information about the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, log on to www.omniplex.org or call (405) 602-3712.