Regularly Scheduled Meetings
History of Harley H. Pope Flight #48
In 1919 Pope Army Airfield was named for First Lieutenant Harley H. Pope who was killed with his crewmember, Sgt. W. W. Fleming, on January 7, 1917 when their JN-4 crashed into the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville. When the U.S. Air Force came into existence in 1947, Pope Field, was partitioned off to become Pope Air Force Base. On March 1, 2011, a Congressional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law, the base returned to Ft. Bragg and the airfield designated as Pope Army Airfield (AAF).
National chartered the Harley H. Pope Flight on March 26, 1977 with 30 members. Initially the flight’s membership comprised of C-130 pilots from the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing and its squadrons, 39th, 40th and 41st Tactical Airlift Squadrons. Over the years, Army pilots from Ft. Bragg and local retired and separated Air Force, Navy, Marine and Army pilots joined the flight. The flight met for many years at the Pope Officers Club Daedalian Room. When the club closed, flight moved to the Ft. Bragg Club. In 2013, the flight relocated to the Carolina Trace Country Club, Sanford, NC. The flight normally meets the 4th Thursday of each month except for the months of July, November, and December.
Five of the original charter members rose to the rank of Flag Officers: General Al Hansen, USAF, ret; Lt General Bob Coverdale, USAF, ret; Lt General Bob Springer, USAF, ret; Maj General Bob Patterson, USAF, ret;and Brig General Frank Kelly, USAF, ret, (deceased).
In addition, several other members became Flag Officers; General (ret) John Handy, Lt General Clay Bailey, Maj. General Nick Williams, Maj General Bobby Floyd, and Brig. General Fred Buckingham. Current retired Flag Officers; Lt General Bob Springer, Brig General Bob Norman, Brig General Walt Hersman and Brig General Jim Scanlan. The Flight also had two Daedalian Founder members: Lou Spilman and Ward Robinson. Lou Spilman, Jr. was a long time hereditary member.
In 1997, the flight had the honor and privilege to host the National convention. In 2008, at the suggestion of one of our members, the flight began a one of a kind recognition program for our senior members. A U.S. Flag flown over the United States Capitol is presented to them on their 90th birthday. Our first recipient was Maj General Don Strait, WW II Flying Ace, who received his flag from the Daedalian National Commander Lt General (ret) Brett Dula. In March of 2015 we presented our eighth U.S. Flag. At our meeting in September 2014, visiting National Commander, Lt General (ret) Nick Kehoe, recognized and presented three Daedalian coins to three flight members who have 50 years of sustained membership as Daedalians.
The flight supports many programs, currently the flight awards over 70 Daedalian JROTC Achievement Medals to High School JROTC Units in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In addition, the flight continues to award two scholarships to deserving aviator qualified, college Air Force ROTC cadets. Beginning in the fall of 2017 the flight will add an additional scholarship to award to either an Army, Navy or Marine cadet. Each year National has matched our flight’s award. . In 2015 the flight started supporting the Cadet Flight Indoctrination Program by selecting and supporting a young person through completion of their first solo.
The fight has been selected as a Jimmy Doolittle Distinguished Flight in 1995, 1996 and 2015. In addition, in 2015, it received a Spencer Recruiting Scholarship award for being in the top four flights for recruiting new members.