Flying Into History
The George W. Jalonick III and Dorothy Cockrell Jalonick Memorial Distinguished Lecture Series

Author to Give Lecture on Yale College Students Who Became Military Heroes.

In 1916, an elite group of Yale undergrads set out to start an aeronautics club at their school. They knew nothing about aviation but their interest and love of motorized flying bonded them. A year later, they would become the nucleus of the U.S. Naval Air Reserve, leading the charge for our nation in World War One.

Author and award-winning writer, Marc Wortman, will discuss the significant role of these brave men, later dubbed the Millionaire’s Unit, during the 2014 George W. Jalonick III and Dorothy Cockrell Jalonick Memorial Distinguished Lecture on 4 p.m., July 12, 2014 in the Clark Center Auditorium. Wortman’s discussion titled, “The Millionaires' Unit: How the Navy Learned to Fly in World War I,” will be based on his book, The Millionaire’s Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power. His detailed story of flying, fighting and dying sheds light on their life in war.

Wortman’s lecture is free and open to the public but registration is required. There will also be a book signing and reception following the lecture. The annual Jalonick Lecture Series is hosted by Eugene McDermott Library’s Special Collections Department and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

“Aviation came of age during WWI, so it is appropriate that this year’s lecture cover aviation in The Great War,” said Paul Oelkrug, Coordinator for Special Collections.  “Who would have guessed that a group of aristocratic Yale students would come together to form an aviation unit that would help form the basis of Naval air power?”

The Millionaire’s Unit is also the basis for a documentary in production. It will premiere at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 this summer. The book was earlier optioned to be made into a feature film by Working Title Films.

In addition to The Millionaire’s Unit, Wortman is also the author of The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. Marc is presently at work on a new book detailing the period prior to the US entry into World War II titled Waking to War: A Divided America in a World at War. Recipient of Sigma Delta Chi and CASE feature writing awards as a freelance journalist, Marc has written feature articles on a wide range of subjects for Vanity Fair, Smithsonian, Town & Country, Technology Review, and other popular and specialized publications. He frequently contributes reviews and essays to The Daily Beast. He is also a Contributing Writer for Start-Up. Along the way, he was a columnist for the New Haven Register and an editor at the Yale Alumni Magazine. He has spoken to audiences around the country and appeared on CNN, NPR, C-SPAN BookTV, and many other radio and television outlets. Following college at Brown University, he received a doctorate from Princeton University.

The Jalonick Lecture Series was established to inform and enlighten the public about the history of flight by bringing aviation specialists to the Dallas community.