From the Director
Susan Enowitz, Executive Director of the Coronado Historical Association and the Coronado Museum & Art
For the last several months the CHA staff has been busy coordinating our overwhelmingly popular Project Home Front (“Home of a Naval Aviator”) yard-sign initiative. At the writing of this column, Boy Scout Troop #806 has already distributed over 500 signs, and we’ve just received our third order, bringing the total to 800 signs!
This wonderful project has helped the CHA grow its membership ranks and become much more visible around town. And we’ve also gained some new friends. As we’ve talked to people over the phone or in the office when they’ve stopped by to bring us biographical information or pick up their signs, we’ve heard some very interesting stories.
Listening to the responses to our questions concerning biographical information, we began to recognize that there are powerful family traditions of contributing service as an aviator. Several father and son aviators are being honored (over nine pairs); one father even had two sons who followed in his footsteps to also become aviators. One family has four navy aviators--three generations and a brother. In many cases, spouses were honoring their husbands, or parents were ordering signs for their sons. There were many children or grandchildren who requested signs to honor their parents or grandparents. Several
people ordered signs as a surprise. One son asked permission to place a sign up in front of a home that his father started to build but was never able to live in because, sadly, he died in combat during WWII before he was able to finish it. His widowed spouse was honored to have a sign placed at their home.
The earliest aviator honored is Vice Admiral Jack Towers (4 Star) who began his naval aviation career a hundred years ago, during its infancy in 1911. Towers was Naval Aviator #3 (a designation of the U.S. Naval Department) leading the first flight across the Atlantic in 1919 with wartime “NC” flying boats. He was the Captain of the USS Saratoga, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics and leader of all Pacific Fleet aviators at that time. He lived for some time at 1351 Orange Avenue at the El Cordova Hotel.
Other fun discoveries: One enterprising former aviator has developed his own personal exhibit about his Navy career, encased and displayed in plastic on the outside of his home, along with his sign. A son heard about his father’s call sign for the first time (“Stinky”). Two neighbors, who never knew it before,
suddenly realized they are both former naval aviators. Perusing the map in our Project Home Front brochure reveals the location of homes with one (or more) of the yard-signs, but also tells us several things about our community and naval aviators. The neighborhood with the highest density of yard signs is the “Country Club.”
Perhaps the obvious point and most important observation from the map is how thoroughly aviators have been integrated into the Coronado residential community. Please pick up or download (coronadohistory. org) our brochure and use it on an outing to see the homes and read the brief military bios of those who have served our country and become our neighbors and friends.
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