“The Eagles Gallery” featuring the aircraft flown by four highly decorated South Dakota WWII veterans will be unveiled at a public ceremony at the Pierre Regional Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. CT.
According to a city of Pierre news release, the four art pieces, created by South Dakotan artist John Mollison, honor the two South Dakotan “Doolittle Raiders,” Distinguished Flying Cross recipient Harold Thune, and Navy Cross recipient Curtis Cameron. The art will be displayed alongside existing art honoring Battle of Midway hero, John Waldron.
The Pierre-Fort Pierre Rotary Club sponsors the Eagles Gallery. “Rotary’s motto is Service Above Self. The men whose airplanes and stories will be displayed in the Eagles Gallery embodied that motto and represent the extraordinary actions of South Dakotans who responded and continue to respond to the call of service. Our Club is proud to support this effort,” club President Ann Schwartz said.
“An especially interesting aspect of these stories is that they each have a connection to the Pierre/Fort Pierre area,” Airport Manager Cameron Howard added. “When people go through the airport and take a quick look, they’ll know of our community’s amazing heritage.”
“History is nutritious — as it feeds our understanding of how we work. If we know our history, we can better guide our future. These airplanes represent moments that affect all of us in some way today,” Mollison said.
The unveiling features a special gallery installment of Curtis Cameron’s actual Navy Cross by the Cameron family. The unveiling will also be the inauguration of a multimedia display produced by the South Dakota Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The display is designed to broaden the impact of South Dakota’s contribution to the Doolittle Raid of April 18, 1942.
For information, contact the Pierre-Fort Pierre Rotary Club via Larry Lyngstad at 605-280-3119 or John Mollison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-261-6070.