Thursday, January 15, 2015

WHITEY, The Story of Rear Admiral E.L. Feightner, A Navy Fighter Ace

New Administration to lead SWOWF into the New Century

He served as our Silver Wings President for the same length of time FDR served in the White House, but unlike Roosevelt, he never cost our membership an extra cent.

Now, Ron David is stepping aside to make room for the pending election of a dynamic, new Silver Wings administration led by Vice Admiral "Bob" Dunn, USN (Ret.) and Major General Joe Anderson, USMC (Ret.).  Both men are veteran aviators, and Joe still thrills air-show crowds when he demonstrates a very rare Harrier (SHAR) jet fighter.

Come, enjoy the camaraderie with friends and meet our new leaders on the 22nd of January!

Silver Wings Over Washington
Ron David, President; RADM. Whitey Feightner, USN (Ret.), Vice President; Joan Stalk, Treasurer; Ray Kester, CW04 USN (Ret.), Secretary
Board: MG Joe Anderson, USMC (Ret.); Col. Randy Brandt, USAF (Ret.); Col. E.P. Deatrick USAF (Ret.); Steve Craven; Debbie Gallaway; Pete King; Capt. Bud Orr, USN (Ret.); Capt. Zip Rausa, USN (Ret.); Col. Charles Stallworth USAF (Ret.)
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Our mission is to provide an educational foundation that inspires, advocates, and fosters a venue for learning through aviation for the younger generation; a forum for networking among members and colleagues with outstanding speakers and camaraderie across the board. "What's Past is Prologue"

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The January 2015 Silver Wings Speakers Events Serie
is scheduled for 
THURSDAY, January 22, 2015
at the  
Army Navy Country Club

Commander Peter B. Mersky, USNR (Ret.)
will address our members and guests
and discuss his latest about

The Story of Rear Admiral E.L. Feightner
a Navy Fighter Ace


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“There is no naval aviator more accomplished and colorful than Rear Adm. E. L. ‘Whitey’ Feightner. He became a World War II ace in the hazardous skies of Guadalcanal and the Marianas, mentored by the legendary Butch O’Hare, and went on to an illustrious career flying and testing Navy aircraft. . . . Feightner is a one-of-a-kind hero.”—Capt. Rosario “Zip” M. Rausa, USNR (Ret.), editor, Wings of Gold 
RADM Edward Feightner 19700715.jpeg
RADM "Whitey" E.L. Feightner
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"Whitey is the first complete biography of one of the last surviving World War II U.S. Navy aces, and one of the Navy’s most respected officers of any period. Following a typical American, mid-western boyhood, Whitey Feightner was in the vanguard of the huge group of young men thrust into World War II. Upon receiving his commission and his gold wings, he was assigned to a fighter squadron in the Pacific and soon found himself flying with the likes of Jimmy Flatley and Butch O’Hare, two leaders who imparted their own brand of flying skill and leadership to the young ensign. He flew through many of the war’s most hectic and dangerous campaigns, such as Guadalcanal and the Marianas, gaining nine official kills. There were times he should not have returned from a mission, but his own skill and positive outlook helped him make it through all the dangers.
After the war, Whitey became a member of the Regular Navy and was assigned to several of the Navy’s most secret and action-filled projects at Patuxent River, Maryland. He flew and helped develop legendary fighters like the F7U Cutlass, F9F Banshee, and Cougar and the attack aircraft AD Skyraider as they joined the fleet, and was one of only two men who flew the radical F7U Cutlass in Blue Angels colors.
Returning to the fleet in command of a squadron, and later of an air group, he continued to develop fighter tactics. In between tours at sea, he served in the Pentagon dealing with all the personalities and political turmoil of the time while trying to bring naval aviation into the future. Working with such luminaries as Hyman Rickover and Elmo Zumwalt was not for the feint-hearted, and even Whitey did not come away unscathed. Yet, through it all, he retained the affable demeanor that characterized this rare and highly skilled naval aviator. His life story could serve as a model for any young aviator to follow."
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On Labor Day weekend a contingent of the OBP DC attended the annual Cleveland National Air Show  which is held at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio.At the spectacular air show, the highlight was a unique tribute paid by Nalls Aviation, the Blue Angels, and the Cleveland National Air Show to our very own World War II Ace, Rear Admiral E.L. "Whitey" Feightner, a truly american icon. The best was yet to come for Whitey (who turned 95 years old October 14th, 2014) when, following the Blue Angels's performance, Anderson regaled Whitey with a ride in Art’s L39 and roared into the blue sky. Whitey basked in every minute with sheer delight.

Gang of Four
L to R: Art Nalls, Joe Anderson, Whitey Feightner and Gene Deatrick
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About Peter B. Mersky, Commander, USNR (Ret.)

Commander Mersky was born in New York City and brought up in West Newton, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1967 with a BFA in illustration. He was commissioned through the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School in May 1968, and served in various assignments on active duty and the reserves. He came to Washington in 1971 and worked as a government artist for 13 years until he took a job at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk as the assistant editor, then editor of Approach magazine. After 16 years at the Safety Center, he retired with 32 years combined federal service and returned to the Washington area where he writes and consults. In 1998, Commander Mersky received the Admiral Radford Award sponsored by the National Museum of Naval Aviation Foundation for excellence in writing Naval Aviation literature. In 2003, he received the Tailhook Association’s Contributor of the Year Award. He is a long-time book reviewer for several military and civilian publications and has had his own review column since 1982 in Naval Aviation News, the Navy’s oldest publication. Since that time he has reviewed more than 700 books. In 1997, his ground-breaking book on Israeli Fighter Aces was published as the first such account outside Israel. The fourth edition of his seminal history of Marine Corps aviation since 1912 was published by the Naval Institute in 2009. He served two tours as the squadron air intelligence officer for the Navy’s penultimate Crusader squadron, VFP-306, and has written four books on the F-8 series, all for Osprey Publishing in the UK, the last being The F-8 Crusader vs the MiG-15 in Osprey’s Duel series, published in October 2014. Whitey is his 16th published book.

Commander Mersky is a long-time member of the American Fighter Aces Association, the Tailhook Association, and the National Museum of Naval Aviation Foundation. He is a life member of the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

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About Silver Wings Over Washington
Our Silver Wings Fraternity is comprised of a wonderful group of remarkable individuals who have pioneered, excelled and contributed to the world of aviation. We encourage members to bring friends, guests, and introduce young people to the noteworthy exploits and achievements of our distinguished members and speakers. In the past we have hosted prominent speakers who presented both contemporary and historical topics relating to aviation, space, and a variety of military accomplishments. For up to date information visit our web blog

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Agenda for Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
2015 Silver Wings Speakers Events Serie

           East Gate: 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
           West Gate: 2400 South 18th Street, Arlington, VA 22204
           Parking: Complimentary Parking
Area   Fort Richardson Room
Cost   $36.00, paid at the entrance
Date   THURSDAY, January 22nd, 2015
1100  Doors Open, Networking Time
1135 Election: Silver Wings Officers & Board
1150  Pledge of Allegiance
1155  Blessing
1200  Plated Lunch served
1255  Introduction of our Speaker
1300  Speaker: CMDR Peter B. Mersky, USNR (Ret.)
1345  Questions from the Audience
1400  Conclusion of the 2015 January Speakers Events Serie

Note: Commander Mersky will have books available and will be pleased to personally autograph each book.

We need a firm count by Monday, January 19th, for the ANCC. The ANCC charges for each walk-in an additional $4 per person, so save the ANCC fee and RSVP as soon as possible. Your membership dues ($25) may be remitted at the SWOWF event. 
For membership information contact: Ron,

RSVP with Ron David, e-mail:

I am looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday, January the 22nd at the ANCC. Cheers, Ron