Two aviators with ties to New Ulm and Mankato have been chosen as inductees into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
Induction ceremonies are set for Saturday, April 12, at the Ramada Mall of America Hotel in Bloomington.
Craig Duehring of Mankato and the late John O. Roberts of New Ulm are among the inductees .
Col. Craig W. Duehring
Col. Craig W. Duehring
Col. Craig W. Duehring, Mankato native, was born in 1945.
Duehring had his first airplane ride at the Mankato Airport at age 13 and decided he wanted to be an Air Force pilot. He joined the CAP and became senior ranking cadet in the state.
After college he joined the United States Air Force and was commissioned an officer. Following training, he was assigned to Southeast Asia and flew his first tour as a forward air controller in Vietnam.
During a second tour, he flew the O-1 as a "Raven" out of Laos. He logged 1525 combat hours during 843 missions, earning two DFCs and receiving the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military honor. He also earned 27 Air Medals.
After Southeast Asia, he served as a jet instructor. He served with NATO in Europe. He became assistant secretary of the Air Force and was responsible for all of the members of the Air Force; active, Reserve and Guard, coordinating assignments, training, housing and medical facilities. Following 911, Duehring worked with the military, helping to script responses to terror attacks.
John O. Roberts
The late John O. Roberts was born in 1942 in New Ulm. He took his first airplane ride at age seven. He soloed at age 16 and earned an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.
He was hired in 1964 by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a design and test engineer on the DC-8. He then went to work for the Cessna Company engineering department designing features of the Citation aircraft.
He served as the manager of the Mankato Airport and as an FBO. From 1981 to 2003, he headed the aviation program at Mankato State University, building it into the largest aviation program in the state and earning honors for the school. During his tenure at MSU, he licensed more than 3,000 students.
He also flew for Sun Country and took to corporate flying when the Mankato program was shut down, flying for New Ulm Flight Service, Down's Foods, Riverbend Asphalt, the Sween Corporation and Gehling Auction Company.
His career was varied and colorful, amassing him over 15,000 logbook hours during a 53-year period. Roberts died in 2012.
Other inductees are:
Marty Coddington, FAA tower controller and airline Captain; Greg Herrick, entrepreneur, antique aircraft restorer and heritage preservation mentor; William B. Stout, pioneer aircraft designer and inventor; and John H. Wastvedt, WWII Marine airman, Honeywell employee, and airline developer