Air America Group to Re-Dedicate Library Memorial

June 1, 2009

The Air America Association has organized a re-dedication and addition to its bronze memorial as a part of the group’s 2009 reunion.

The ceremony is set for 2 p.m. June 5 at the UT Dallas Conference Center and is open to the public.

The association’s original memorial plaque was dedicated in 1987 at McDermott Library.

The library is home to the Civil Air Transport and Air America archives, which tell the stories of the air crews and ground support personnel that helped run covert operations for the CIA after World War II.

The memorial recognizes the 240 CAT/Air America employees who lost their lives in Southeast Asia but did not qualify to be placed on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

Although many of the employees had served in the U.S. military, they were civilians when they served the CAT/Air America. They ran supplies to U.S. fighting forces throughout Southeast Asia and ventured into harm’s way in rescues of downed pilots, but those killed in action were not recognized as military losses because of CIA secret operations.

The new plaque with an additional 10 names will be dedicated and placed next to the large memorial on the library’s third floor of McDermott Library. The names are Gabriel J. Batavia, Yao-Ziang Chen, Yao-Chung Kan, Harry W. Arnott, Robert E. Blevens, Luc Kien Vinh, Phillip R. Knoke, Apolinario S. Gerardo, James R. Black, and Richard Charles Case.

In April UT Dallas and McDermott Library presented a symposium for the CIA, “Air America:  Upholding the Airmen’s Bond.” The CIA is declassifying copies of thousands of Air America documents that will be donated to the archive.


More Information: (972) 883-2570
Media Contact: Tom Koch, McDermott Library, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4951, tkoch@utdallas.edu.

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