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Donald D. Engen. Photograph by Carolyn Russo. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (#99-15320).

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Engen, Donald Davenport (28 May 1924–13 July 1999), naval officer, test pilot, public servant, was born in Pomona, California, the son of Sydney M. Engen, a stockbroker and later an Internal Revenue Service employee, and Dorothy Davenport Engen. Engen spent his childhood years in southern California, principally in Pasadena. When he was in fourth grade, he decided that he wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and become a naval officer....

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Hichborn, Philip (04 March 1839–01 May 1910), naval officer and shipwright, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Philip Hichborn and Martha Gould. After he graduated from high school in 1855, Hichborn took work as a shipwright apprentice at the U.S. Navy’s shipyard at Charlestown. His reputation for excellent craftsmanship won him recognition from the navy in the form of special instruction in naval construction. After brief employment as a ship’s carpenter aboard the clipper ship ...

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Parsons, Edwin Charles (24 September 1892–02 May 1968), World War I combat pilot and U.S. naval officer, was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the son of Franklin D. Parsons, an insurance executive in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Grace Steele. Edwin, called “Ted” throughout his life, graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1910 and, at his father’s urging, attended the University of Pennsylvania briefly. After declining his father’s invitation to learn the insurance business, Parsons traveled to southern California in about 1911....

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Taylor, David Watson (04 March 1864–28 July 1940), naval architect and naval officer, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Henry Taylor and Mary Minor, farmers. Taylor’s early education was at home before attending Randolph-Macon College from 1877 to his graduation in 1881. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in October 1881 and enrolled that month as a cadet-engineer, graduating in June 1885 with the highest academic marks achieved since the academy’s founding in 1845. Taylor served on the USS ...