Now that the American Airlines service from Charlottesville, VA to Chicago, Illinois is in full swing, I felt it was time to get to know our new major connection a little better. The first place to start is with the name. Now that I know why, I couldn’t think of a better name for the Midwest hub than Chicago O’Hare.
Lt. Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare was a navy pilot in the Pacific when he became the first ACE in WWII. His actions on February 20, 1942 are those for comic book heroes. Lt. O'Hare was the only U.S. Navy fighter pilot available in the air when enemy bombers were attacking his aircraft carrier the Lexington. Facing 9 twin-engine bombers alone, O’Hare shot down five of them and damaged a sixth before other U.S. fighters arrived. No enemy bombs made it to the Lexington. The Medal of Honor citation calls it "...one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation..." O'Hare was killed in 1943 during the battle for the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific. He had volunteered to lead a night interception mission against enemy aircraft attacking his task group. His plane was shot down and he was lost at sea during the battle. And so in 1949 the Chicago City Council renamed Orchard Field as Chicago-O’Hare International Airport, to honor their hometown hero. His name is listed on the "Wall of the Missing" at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Honolulu, Hawaii.
Next time you are at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, check out the Butch O’Hare WWII Fighter Airplane Exhibit located in Terminal 2.
Do you know of any other airport names with cool origins?