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They Gave Their Strength

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To The Wings
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[image: man in front of plane]
Warren E. Eaton and His Sailplane "Falcon"

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Richard C. duPont

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Lewin B. Barringer

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Leon Kubinski

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John Seely

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SOARING is probably the safest sport in the world today. In the list of "C' Certificate Pilots found farther back in this program there are very few names with a "D" for deceased after them and, while this list may not be entirely accurate to the extent of listing all "C" Pilots who have lost their lives, it is sufficiently so to show what a small percentage of soaring enthusiasts have met untimely ends.

It is only fitting, however, to here pay tribute to those pathfinders of soaring who have given their lives in the interests of developing and utilizing this sport-science. It is, of course, impossible to list them all here for specific mention, rather, each one mentioned is symbolical of a definite classification or grouping of those who have gone.

America's leading champion of motorless flight, the man who did so much to make America soaring-conscious, must be given first mention. On December 1, 1934, Soaring, in America, was dealt a severe blow when its champion and one of the movement's pioneers, Warren E. Eaton, was killed when his utility glider crashed in Biscayne Bay, in Florida.

Symbolical of the younger men who threw their weight, influence and enthusiasm into the movement was Richard C. duPont, three-time National Champion and one of the men whose efforts and financial backing helped bring the Soaring Society of America and American soaring into the advanced position which it holds today. He was killed conducting test flights of an experimental cargo glider for the Army Air Forces.

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Bringing the sport of soaring into the field of science was a group of pilots who became more advanced in the art. They pushed back the frontiers and contributed much to the advancement of  motorless flight. An outstanding name among these was Lewin B. Barringer, former National Two-Place Altitude Champion and holder of the No. 4. Golden "C", who was reported missing on an Army Glider Assignment in the European Theatre.

War came, and as a prelude to the entrance of this country into the conflict there was training of Army pilots for gliders. In this, Elmira pioneered and training was eventually transferred from Harris Hill to warmer climate where the work could be carried on more steadily. John M. Seely was one of the Elmirans who accompanied the Elmira Area Soaring Corporation south as one of the instructing group, and there gave his life in a crash.

Leon Kubinski also accompanied the Elmira group to Mobile, Alabama in the interests of national preparation and there gave his life in the line of his duty, giving the people of Elmira even closer ties to the Soaring movement.

To the unnamed heroes who piloted the Army Air Force Glider Task Force into combat, we wish to pay high tribute. Late acquainted with the art of gliding, they gave much in a little space of time and advanced not only the acceptance of motorless flight as an essential part of military operations, but also the welfare of their country. The whole country, and especially the soaring enthusiasts of America, remember with pride the accomplishments and sacrifices of these honored dead.
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