Two combat veteran pilots from the Korean War and the Vietnam War will fly as co-pilots this Saturday with the Escadrille.
Korean War veteran Bill Pate of Gilmer was a U.S. Navy ensign flying combat missions over North and South Korea in the Navy’s AD Skyraiders from the aircraft carrier Boxer and later the Bon Homme Richard.
Col. John Dalton, USAF retired, now residing in Longview, was a B-52 aircraft commander in 361 airstrike missions over South and North Vietnam. Both of these men are combat-decorated war veterans and they are proud to be participate in the Medal of Honor Ceremony, Steve Dean said.
Steve Dean, leader of the Escadrille is Captain, USAF retired, brother of Ensign John Mack Dean. Both brothers served as a military pilots in the Vietnam era and were in service at the same time.
Saturday is a special day for the Escadrille because it marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Gilmer Navy veteran Ensign Mack Dean.
Dean, a naval aviator in training for jet fighter pilot duties as a carrier pilot during the Vietnam era, perished in his North American T-2 “Buckeye” trainer on March 26,1969 in a training accident near Philadelphia, Miss.
Ensign Mack Dean would have been 23 years old on April 3, 1969. The museum honors and shows appreciation to Ensign Mack Dean and to the families of all the other young men and women from the local area who served our country in uniform.
At the time of his death, Dean was married to Ann Calk of Longview and they were living in Meridian, Miss.
In his honor, Mack’s mother, Jane Dean, was honored as “Gold Star Mother” for Upshur County on Memorial Day, 1997.