Page 7 - DFCS News Magazine Winter 2014
P. 7

DFCS Member Inducted into San Diego
Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame By Chuck Sweeney
The San Diego Air and Space Museum had their Annual Gala Event on the evening of November 16th, 2013 to induct Aviation Hon- orees into their International Air & Space Hall of Fame.
One of these inductees was Dean “Diz” Laird who is a life member of the DFC Society. The induction covered the entire span of his life from ear- ly childhood though his entry into naval service in January 1942, and his accomplish- ments in WWII as a carrier fighter pilot (only known Na- vy Ace to shoot down both German and Japanese aircraft and recipient of the DFC for this). The story continued with his 29-year Naval Avia- tion career logging more than 8200 hours in both props and jets
(type rated in
99 aircraft) with
520 carrier
landings cover-
ing three wars.
He also flew in the 1969 mov- ie “Tora, Tora, Tora” about the Japanese attack on Pearl Har- bor but, ironically, he flew the simulated Japanese aircraft. Not to be outdone by fellow DFCS member, President Bush 41, Diz went skydiving after his 90th birthday.
There were approximately
five hundred people attend- ing the event, and many were families and friends of Diz in- cluding DFCS members, Steve
Diz Laird with some of his Family after the Gala
Pisanos and Stan Bass. It was a great evening and I got to talk to some of the other great Aviation Inductees in- cluding the Apollo16 Crew, “Sully” Sullenberger and his
crew, Felix Baumgart- ner (supersonic free-fall rec- ord) along
with his mentor and previous record holder, Col Joe Kit- tinger, as well as other avia- tion notables. I was very in- terested in trying to get Joe Kittinger to join the DFC Soci- ety, as he received six DFCs and was also a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 11 months. He seemed interested and took the application but has-
n’t joined yet, so I have to fol- low up.
The other Inductee who caught my interest was Bud Anderson, a WWII Triple Ace who was awarded five DFCs. Bud achieved 16 1/4 victories during two tours flying 116 missions in a P-51D nick- named “Old Crow” without a single hit from enemy aircraft. It really is a small world as Bud and Diz went to the same high school before go- ing their separate ways in January 1942, Bud joining the Army Air Force while Diz went Naval Aviation. Bud al- so took a DFCS application and seemed interested but has not joined yet, so I will have to get Diz to bug him.
“It really is a small world as Bud and Diz went to the same high school before going their separate ways in January 1942,”
Aces Bud Anderson & Diz Laird

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