Honored guest speaker at this month’s Daedalian meeting in downtown El Paso, Texas, was Bob Dockendorf, long time member of the FASF and Executive Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Doña Ana County International Jetport.
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Bob described the museum’s history and how it was started by fellow El Pasoans, John and Betty MacGuire, both of whom were avid aviators, 32 years ago.
Earlier this year Bob was elected to the El Paso Aviation Hall of fame in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the local aviation community since taking command of the WEAM.
His historical operation had 17,000 visitors this past year, guests who came to enjoy and learn from the museum’s exhibit of some 36 WWII, Korean and Vietnam era “war birds,” many of which are still in flying condition.
In addition to the display of these vintage aircraft, this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, oversees a colorful collection of over 50 antique automobiles and motorcycles. Bob has been an enthusiastic car collector for many years, and has also been both a student of aviation and history since he was a young man growing up in the Midwest.
The WEAM also boasts an intriguing climate-controlled library consisting of thousands of books, periodicals, photographs and other documents, mostly related to aviation, automobiles and history.
The War Eagles keeps its admission prices low in order to expose the greatest number of people its educational exhibits and materials. Students are admitted free of charge and veterans, seniors and military personnel are welcomed with a discounted admission price.
While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires, Bob has recently begun to transition the institution from a privately funded non-profit educational enterprise, to one of a more self-supporting and public nature. Although John MacGuire passed away in 2001, his wife Betty maintains almost daily contact with the Executive Director of her beloved museum.
The assembled Daedalians, all members of the FASF, and who all also know Bob well, expressed their enthusiastic appreciaton for his presentation. his fourth to this Daedalian Flight since becoming the museum’s CEO.
Mr. Dockendorf additionally explained his initiative for a new organization, The Rio Grande Aviation Council. The new group will be devoted to area aviation interests and development, and which will be composed of leaders from area aviation interests such as the CAP, EAA, Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, Amigo Airsho – – – and, yes, even the FASF.