Jun 14, 2016 at 03:14 PM

Wings of Honor News

By Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation

Wings of Honor

Mr. Peter Jordano joins the Wings of Honor Committee

Wings of Honor News
Peter Jordano and the 1943 MCAS SB Baseball Team

Mr. Peter Jordano has joined the Wings of Honor Committee as our local Honorary Chairman.  Mr. Jordano is a well-known local businessman, CEO of Jordano’s Inc.  Jordano’s is the tri-counties largest distributor of food, beverages and restaurant equipment. They employ over 600 people.  Peter is also a former Marine 1st Lieutenant, having served from 1956-1959.  His first “affiliation” with the Marine Corps was as a batboy for the Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara baseball team in 1943.  

The Early Days of the Santa Barbara Airport

Santa Barbara's significant aviation history begins in 1914 when Lincoln Beachey flew an airplane across the Goleta Valley. Two years later the Loughead brothers (who later changed their name to Lockheed) established the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company, a seaplane factory on the main street of Santa Barbara and constructed a wooden ramp on the popular West Beach to launch their planes. In 1928, two venturesome aviators landed a Hisso-powered airplane in a cow pasture near the corner of Hollister and Fairview Avenues in Goleta and set up a flight school on the spot. That first airstrip marked the beginning of what was to become the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. Another aviation pioneer, John Knudson “Jack” Northrop got his start in Santa Barbara. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Jack Northrop grew up in Santa Barbara and in 1916 got his first job in aviation working as a draftsman for the Loughead brothers.

The airport continued to grow during the 1930’s. On December 7, 1931, Century Pacific Airlines began serving Santa Barbara on its San Francisco to Los Angeles route. United Air Lines inaugurated service in 1936. In 1940, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) proposed improving the airport in the interest of National Defense. The CAA spent approximately $1million on the project that included filling in a tidal marsh known as the “Goleta Slough” in order to accommodate three runways. Fill-dirt for the runway came from the unoccupied Chumash Island, Mescalitan, just to the southeast of the airport. The island is currently the location of the Goleta Sanitary Sewage Treatment Plant.The city tried to interest the U.S. Navy in the airport during its improvement, but failed to reach an agreement. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army became involved in the airfield.

Next month: Santa Barbara Airport, World War II

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