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Bennett, Floyd (25 October 1890–25 April 1928), aviator, was born at Truesdale Hill, Town of Caldwell (now Lake George), New York, the son of Wallace Bennett and Henrietta (maiden name unknown). At age nine he went to live with his uncle and aunt in Warrensburg, New York, where he attended public schools and did farm work. He left school at age seventeen and worked for a year in a lumber camp near Lake George to earn money to attend an automobile school in Schenectady. He then worked at the People’s Garage in Ticonderoga. He eventually became co-owner but later sold his share and moved to Hague, New York, where he was employed as a mechanic in R. F. Bolton’s garage. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 15 December 1917, serving at naval air stations at Bay Shore, New York; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Pensacola, Florida. In 1918 he married Cora Lillian Orkins of Ticonderoga; they had no children....

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Brown, Jesse Leroy (13 October 1926–04 December 1950), naval aviator, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the son of John Brown, a farmer. His mother’s name is not known. From the time he was a small boy, Brown was interested in flying: at the sight of an airplane flying above, he turned to a friend and said, “Some day I’m going to fly one of those” (Weems, p. 36). He held fast to his dream. He studied hard at the all-black Eureka High School, and his principal, recognizing that the school did not prepare students well for college, taught Brown and other promising students more advanced subjects. He was also an excellent athlete, participating in basketball and track and playing halfback on Eureka’s state championship football team....

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Byrd, Richard Evelyn (25 October 1888–11 March 1957), naval aviator and explorer, was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of Richard Evelyn Byrd, an attorney, and Eleanor Bolling Flood. The family had long been prominent in Virginia; Byrd’s brother Harry Flood Byrd served as governor and several terms as a U.S. senator. After traveling alone around the world at the age of twelve, Byrd attended the Shenandoah Valley Military Academy, Virginia Military Institute (1904–1907), the University of Virginia (1907–1908), and the U.S. Naval Academy, receiving his ensign’s commission in 1912....

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Towers, John Henry (30 January 1885–30 April 1955), U.S. Navy officer and aviation pioneer, was born in Rome, Georgia, the son of William Magee Towers and Mary Norton. He received his education at local schools, the Georgia School of Technology (now the Georgia Institute of Technology) in Atlanta, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After graduation from Annapolis he served the customary two years at sea, as a midshipman assigned to the battleship ...