Tag Archives: Veterans

Dockendorf Briefs Daedalians About War Eagles Air Museum

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.

Any of the following photographs may be seen in full high resolution by simply clicking on them.

                                                  Bob Dockendorf describes the history of the WEAM

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.

L to R: Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, and Col. Bob Pitt.

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.

L to R at right: Bob Dockendorf, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and USAF ROTC Cadet and Daedalian Flight Training Scholarship Awardee, Ammber Valverde.

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.

L to R: Alan Fisher, Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, Bob Pitt, Scott Drake, Bob Dockendorf, Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Nichols, past Flight Captain.

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.

                            Dave Ginn, who just returned from a quick tour to Iraq, describes his experience.

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.

Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos conducting flight business.  To his right, above (left to you) is his guest, former Army aviator and test pilot, Scott Drake.

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.

                                    Dave Ginn and Alan Fisher listen to Mr. Dockendorf

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.

                                   Colonel Norm Rice enjoys his desert while his wife, Ulla, looks on.

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.

L to R: Dave Ginn and Alan Fisher

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.

                         L to R: Mario Campos and Jerry Dixon, and (sitting) Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols

                                              L to R: Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and Ammber Valverde

                                                    Roger Nichols and Ammber Valverde

                                            L to R: Scott Drake, Larry Spradlin, and Bob Dockendorf

                                                               Ammber Valverde and Virg Hemphill

                         L to R:  Ammber Valverde, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols

                                                      Ammber Valverde and Alan Fisher

               L to R: Scott Drake, Roger Nichols, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos

Can You Take a Little Over Five Minutes to Remember Them?

 Virg Hemphill

Once again, Virg Hemphill (at left), an Air Force veteran Pilot himself, suggests we take a few moments this weekend to stop and remember those who helped us enjoy the freedoms we tend to take so much for granted.

While this national holiday weekend we affectionately call, MEMORIAL DAY, often involves wonderful family and friend time outdoors, and also possibly joining other loved ones to watch main street downtown parades, or great sporting events, such as the INDY 500,* Virg thinks – and we at the FASF agree – that we should still find or make just a few minutes (his selected video below is precisely 5:34 minutes) to reflect; to remember those young men and women who gave so much that we might enjoy our unparalleled and so widely envied American liberties.

* Remember:  Eddie Rickenbacher, great American Fighter Pilot and WWI Ace, started his career racing cars, including at Indianapolis (he later became the famous “500” racetrack’s owner).  And who was it that gave him his first airplane ride?  None other than Glenn Curtiss, himself once the holder the world’s speed record on a motorcycle that he himself built.  Here, below, is a short video (3:53) taken at the Curtiss Museum, of their replica of the Curtiss V-8 engined motorcycle that he rode to such world fame. 

Glenn was born in Hammondsport, NY, in 1878.  Curtiss was gifted with insatiable curiosity, mechanical ability and great ambition.  As his remarkable achievements began to accumulate, this soon became evident. By the time he reached his teens, bicycles and speed had become a near-obsession with the young speed demon.

He was a champion bicycle racer for years,  but soon began to progress into designing and building his own motorized machines. By 1902, Curtiss, with three employees, was manufacturing his own motorcycles under the trade name, “Hercules“.

In a measured-mile run at Ormond Beach, Florida, on Jan. 23, 1907, Curtiss’ V8 powered motorcycle was officially clocked at 136.3 mph. On that day, and for years afterward, Glenn Curtiss carried the title, “Fastest Man on Earth“. The engine used in his record-setting motorcycle served as a prototype for what would later be used in the Curtiss Jenny airplanes, the very aircraft that lifted the First Aero Squadron into the skies over Mexico in 1916.