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Veterans Group Calls For Airport Name Change

Last updated on Thursday, May 15, 2008

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A local veterans group is waging a campaign to have Indianapolis International Airport renamed in honor of a World War I Hoosier flying ace.

Col. Harvey Weir Cook was a member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Airport Sitting Committee, which picked the site for the airport and he was the facility's first manager when it opened in 1931.

Weir Cook died in a plane crash in 1943 and a year later, the Indianapolis Municipal Airport was rededicated in his name. His name was dropped when the airport received its international dedication in 1976.

The Military/Veterans Coalition of Indiana sent a letter to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, seeking a meeting over the proposed name change. Authority Executive Director John Kish issued a statement saying, "when it received its international designation 32 years ago, the Indianapolis Airport Authority board of directors determined the name should more clearly reflect the identity of our city and the capital of our state. That name remains in place today for the same reason."

Ron Martin with the veterans group isn't buying it. Martin calls Weir Cook "the face of aviation in Indiana". Cook received the Distinguished Service Cross twice for extraordinary heroism in action.

Martin says many pilots still call it Weir Cook Airport. The veterans group says it has the names of about 1,500 Hoosiers and approximately 98 percent of them are in favor of the name change.

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