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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Bring back Baer

I was hoping Fort Wayne would be the first in Indiana to show some common sense, but it looks like Indianapolis might beat us to it:

Several U.S. cities have changed their airports' names to honor hometown heroes, and Indianapolis might be next.

The Indianapolis City-County Council voted 25-3 Monday night to approve a proposal to recommend that Indianapolis International Airport be renamed to Indianapolis Weir Cook International Airport when the new terminal opens later this year.

Council President Bob Cockrum said in a statement today: "Weir Cook gave an incredible service to our country, fighting in both World War I and World War II. Combining the Airport's old name and new name honors not just Weir Cook, but all veterans who have served our country and serve as role models for future generations."

I know I've said this before, but I'm going to keep saying it. It's fine that Fort Wayne wants the "international" designation for its aiport, but if there can be an "Indianapolis Weir Cook International Airport" and an "O'Hare International Airport," there can be a "Baer Field International Airport." Paul Baer was a war hero, too. He was a 16-victory ace in World War 1 who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre. After the war, he opened mail routes in South America.

Make some noise, veterans.


Harl Delos
Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:49am

A century ago, Art Smith was as celebrated as an aviator as any movie star is today.

He was a test pilot and instructor during WWI. He tried to become a fighter pilot but the Army Air Corps said "No," possibly because he was only 5'3", possibly because of his injuries from earlier crashes.

It's not necessary to kill people to be worthy of honor. Patriotism is the willingness to sacrifice for one's country, not the willingness to kill for one's country.

After the war, Art Smith did not open air routes in South America, but in the US. He flew the overnight mail run between Chicago and New York. In 1932, on just such a run, he hit trees in Montpelier (the Montpelier in Williams County, Ohio, not the one in Blackford County, Indiana.)

No insult intended to Butch O'Hare, or to Paul Baer, but Fort Wayne International Airport was originally named Smith Field, and I think Art Smith deserved that honor.

There's a fixed base operator airport on the north side of Fort Wayne. Maybe you could get it named for Paul Baer.