Thanks to the untiring efforts of our 1st VP, Jason Adams, the FASF now has its own local NM State Historical Marker firmly planted near our historic 1916 Airfield, which, as Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas’official business card proudly states: is “The Cradle of American Air Power.”
Let’s take a photographic look at the sequence of actual physical events that took place before the two-year long process of obtaining state approval for the Historic Marker was successfully completed.
The entire lengthy process took place under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Culltural Affairs. The Department’s web pages describe the process involved: “The markers happen through a strong partnership among the Historic Preservation Division, the Cultural Properties Review Committee, New Mexico Department of Transportation – and the public.”
All of these agencies and groups must have been queried and counselled in order for such a Historical Marker to be approved, and then finally contructed for the site it represents. As you might imagine, Jasonhad a big task in hand to get this objective reallized, and it took no small amount of patience to weather the long process involved in the achievement. But, today, we now have this marker in place, with its own highway tourist/visitor pull-off parking area so that passing motorists can conveniently pull off state Highway 9, right in the town of Columbus itself, to safely read both sides of the sign’s historical inscription.
Remember: Just click on any photo below to see it in full-size and hi-resolution!
L to R: Miguel Garcia,of Deming, NM, and Baltazar Granados, who actually hails from Columbus, are with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), and did the original site survey work for the new FASF Historical Marker.
Migueland Baltazarpose by their truck before commencing the survey work. The FASF billboard marking the 1916 airfield is behind them to the left.
Here is Baltazar measuring the dimensions for locating the new Marker Sign. Highway 9, in the forefront, has a steep drop-off shoulder closer to the Airfield, so these men had to find the nearest place where the shoulder was relatively flat, so that passing motorists might easily park their vehicles when they go over to read the Marker Sign. These men began this stie work almost exactly one (1) year ago!
Here we see the men from the P&M Sign Company Team working to erect the new sign, which was made by their firm under contract to the state of New Mexico. P&M makes most of these historical marker signs for New Mexico. They are located in picturesque Mountaiinair, NM. This work was completed by them this past September
Here are the actual text portions of the two-sided Marker, which clearly point out the historical information regarding the location’s importance. This sign is heavy-duty and completely weather proof.
The P&Mteam halfway through to completion. L to R: Larry Archuletaof Las Vegas, NM, Marcos Tavera ,Charles Padilla, and Andrew Lopez, all three from Mountainair, NM
Here is the front side of the sign, with page one of the story facing to the West.
And here, above, is the back side of the Marker, facing East towards El Paso, Texas. You can see by the construction of the Maker that this ediface is both sturdily made – and situated.
L to R: FASF celebrants of the new Sign’s Official Dedication: Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas,Airfield Director, Bob Wright; Long-time FASF member and just-retired Manager of the nearby Pancho Villa State Park, John Read; FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas; Bill Madden, Airfield Site Chairman; Fritz Wagoner, Airfield Survey & Artifact Team; and Historical Marker Committee Chairman, 1st VP of the FASF, Jason Adams, and his daughter, Chloe. All four of the FASF members on the right side of the sign are from Las Cruces, NM. At the left in photo, TheMayorand Bob Wrightare from Columbus, and John Read and Alma Villezcasare both from Deming, NM.
Yesterday, at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, Bill Madden,of Las Cruces, NM, gave a special Power Point Presentation to the General Frank Nichols Daedalian Fight 24 monthly meeting. Almost 100% of the Flight are long time active FASF members. Bill and his Airfield Site team have worked for years with their metal detectors and GPS gear scanning the Airfield in order to determine the correct place on the Field to erect our replicated 1916 Jenny Flight Line and its hangar facilities. Without his team’s tireless efforts we’d have no idea of precisely where to locate the old Flight Line. Click on any photo below to see it in full resolution/size.
Former US Military Pilots, L to R: Col. Norman Rice, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Bob Pitt, and meeting’s Speaker, Bill Madden, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, choosing their meals for the luncheon event.
Bill Madden opens his presentation with a slide showing his motorized glider in front of his Las Cruces NM Hangar.
Screen has photo of (L to R) Mark Drexler, Bill Madden, and Fritz Wagoner, the 1916 Army Airfield Archeological Team, with their metal detecting gear in hand, posing right on the FAS 1916 historic Airfield.
Bill explains how the team has marked all of their findings on the Airfield Site’s Satellite Map. Artifacts are identified and color-coded based upon the type of remnant discovered. The patterns will help determine the correct location for the replication of the old 1916 Airfield’s Flight Line (hangars and repair facilities).
Bill talks about the type of maintenance equipment the Army’s First Aero Squadron had to accomplish their work. The 4 wheel-drive truck shown has an engine hoist on its rear bed. The FAS mechanics above are seen hoisting one of the Jenny’s Curtiss built OX-5 V-8 cylinder engines.
Billwound up his presentation showing him airborne in his powered single seat glider. He has owned and flown a number of general aviation class airplanes over the years and has actually personally built some of them. Beside being a professional engineer, Billis a licensed FAA Air-frame and Power Plant Mechanic. Billbelongs to and has been an officer of the Las Cruces, NM EAA Chapter 555, and has also belonged to the famous EAA chapter 1, at the Flabob Airport in California.
After the meeting, Billtalked about his work with FASF Aviation News Scout and former USAF and Airline Pilot, Virg Hemphill at left.
Above, L to R, are Bill, Daedaliansand FASF members, Ric Lambart,and Colonel Bob Pitt, who have just awarded Madden with his gift from the Flight, in appreciation for his having shared his time and expertise with them.