In his 31-year career, he became the Navy’s 10th ranked Ace during World War II and was awarded three Navy Crosses, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals while serving with fighter squadron 31. Served in the Korean War as a member of VF-191, a squadron formed from the famed Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team, and later served as leader of the Blues from August 1951 to April 1954.
“A distinguished officer and leader.”
ODE TO THE HAWK
Where, one might ask, is the town of Zavalla?
Does it have any claim to fame?
And why, one might add, is it proud of one fella?
And what was the name of his game?
Well, that east Texas town has its hero
Who left from that place one day
At war he made scrap of the zero
As a blue he made flight look like play
Well, who is this guy and why all the talk?
You bet we have, his name is hawk
And he's history covered with glory
Little more than a lad when he answered the call
He took to the air in fighters
Before he could vote he had faced one and all
Dispatching fourteen poor blighters
His great deeds caught the eyes of his bosses
But hawk wasted no time in braggin'
Aerial skill brought him two navy crosses
Then a third for a cruiser and 'wagon
War's end found our friend back stateside
as part of the navy's first team
He soon was picked for the angels
He was part of the crème de la crème
Then Korea and another deployment
To the kittens he lent his name
Between flights he added enjoyment
By running a floating crap game.
Back with the angels they made him the boss
The team he was told to revive
His outside loop was the only loss
He was the first such to survive.
After long years of serving his nation
After Skipper, Leader and CAG
He retired and joined the foundation
Airshows, raising money his bag
From east to west he'd race to a show
Through Texas he blazed a new trail
When the highway patrol saw how fast he could go
Ole hawk they would nail without fail
But the years go by and its time to rest
There's nothing more to prove
He's met every challenge and come out best
And now it's time for a move
With lovely Louise, take a turn at life's ease
Lord knows, you have it coming
When you loaf around or drive off the tees
The rest of us will be bumming
As you step o'er the side we're saddened
And we hate to see you leave
Actually we should be gladdened
Retirement's not something to grieve
So, I thought of a way to make your day
And I think you're going to love it
Tell that guy at your side "it's been a great ride,
But you can take this job and shove it!"