CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Today is National Aviation Day. President Franklin D. Roosevelt first designated the holiday in 1939 as a way to celebrate the development of aviation in our country.
Along the sandy beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Orville and his brother Wilbur Wright made history. The brothers worked together to create the fixed-wing aircraft that Orville would use to complete the first controlled and sustained flight on December 17, 1903. National Aviation Day is celebrated each year on August 19 to mark the anniversary of aviation pioneer Orville Wright's birthday.
Although many years and miles distance that historic moment from the Coastal Bend, we have our own set of aviation pioneers.
Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is home to the Chief of Naval Air Training Headquarters, which leads the Naval Air Training Command's five Training Air Wings in Florida, Mississippi, and here in South Texas. These military leaders prepare student Navy and Marine Corps aviators for their careers, which eventually take them around the world and sometimes even space.
In fact, recent Spacecraft Commander for the first crewed SpaceX Crew Dragon flight, NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley, started his career as a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. According to NASA, "Following Aviation Indoctrination in Pensacola, Florida, [Hurley] entered flight training in Texas in 1989 and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1991."
With hundreds of pilots and military personnel moving in and out of the area for training, the base in Corpus Christi generates a return of more than $2 billion worth of economic value for our city.
On this National Aviation Day, we honor those servicemen and women who encourage us to keep looking up as they continue to push the boundaries in aviation right here in our own backyard.