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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


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C.W. McClusky, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Web)
C.W. McClusky, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Web)

C.W. McClusky landed once at Tucson, Monday, August 19, 1929. He flew an unidentified Boeing F2B. Based at San Diego, CA aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga, he arrived amidst nineteen other naval aviators, each signed into the Register on the middle third of page 112. Other than the first six who signed their own names, the rest were entered by an unknown hand all at once. Please direct your browser to the link and review page 112. There you'll see that signers Chourre through Wick comprise the group of twenty. They all remained overnight at Tucson, departing the morning of the 20th for El Paso, TX.

What were twenty Navy pilots doing at Tucson all at once? They were on a grand cross-country flight headed from San Diego to Cleveland, OH and back to participate in the National Air Races (NAR) held August 24th-September 2nd at Cleveland that year. Lt. Cdr. Homer Wick was commanding officer of Squadron No. 1 based on the Saratoga.

Wick brought his entire squadron through Tucson on behalf of the NAR. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Navy ordered numerous activities by its personnel, ships and airplanes to build confidence in the naval force among the U.S. citizenry, to provide real-life training for personnel, as well as to encourage recruitment.

McClusky's job was to participate with the aerobatic team named the "Nine High Hats." Below, he is circled and shown with the rest of his section (the two officers immediately in front and to his left) and the entire 9-man team just three days before he landed at Tucson. He also participated in event No. 21 of the NAR, the Navy Pursuit Race. It took place on August 30th and covered 100 miles in ten, 10-mile laps. According to the Aircraft Yearbook for 1930, sixteen navy pilots competed. Although maintaining a good overall average speed, he was disqualified because he fouled pylons. Please direct your browser to Wick's page to see a tabulation and identification of all the men in his squadron.

The "Nine High Hats," August 16, 1929 (Source: NHH via Woodling)
The "Nine High Hats," August 16, 1929 (Source: NHH via Woodling)

Notably, and I mean NOTABLY, if any person can be said to have determined the outcome of a battle and thus changed the course of WWII, then it is not an understatement to say the gentleman circled at upper right was that person. Then Lieutenant Commander McClusky was Commander of the Air Group aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942. He led the air attack at the Battle of Midway that resulted in the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu. He was highly decorated for his achievements. An article in the June 1, 1952 issue of The New York Times (PDF, 290kB) celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Battle by publishing an article by historian Samuel Eliot Morrison. The 40-year old McClusky's role during the critical two minutes of the Battle is clearly laid out by Morrison. In the 1976 movie, "Midway," McClusky was played by Christopher George.

McClusky was born June 1, 1902. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1926. Among his peers in the photograph above, McClusky was also the leader in "Black N" awards during his time at the Naval Academy. Notice below the five stars after the "award," which means he received it five times. The Black N was, and still is, the “scarlet letter" for midshipmen of questionable virtue who have racked up more demerits than most.

C.W. McClusky, Class of 1926 (Source: Woodling)
C.W. McClusky, Class of 1926 (Source: Woodling)

McClusky was designated Naval Aviator on May 7, 1929 just months before he joined the High Hats at Cleveland. An excellent biography of Rear Admiral McClusky is at the link and won't be repeated here. He retired from the Navy on July 1, 1956.

McClusky died June 27, 1976. Below is his grave marker in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, Annapolis, MD.

C.W. McClusky Grave Marker, Annapolis, MD (Source: Web)
C.W. McClusky Grave Marker, Annapolis, MD (Source: Web)



The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot McClusky to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me

Some of the images come from the Naval History and Heritage Web site (NHH) via site visitor Bob Woodling. Thanks to Bob for help researching this page.


Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.


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