"Honor, Preserve, Educate"
This is the official web site for the "Tex" Hill Wing, named for and authorized by David Lee "Tex" Hill, one of the famous Flying Tigers of World War II. For an interesting story of the Flying Tigers in Burma, click here to see an article in Life magazine dated March 30, 1942.
The "Tex" Hill Wing was originally formed in Fredricksburg, Texas. It moved to the Hondo Army Air Field (now the South Texas Regional Airport) in Hondo, Texas in 2009.
When the "Tex" Hill Wing made the move to Hondo, it immediately saw that the airport was of historic importance. Here, during World War II many thousands of airmen were trained as Navigators, destined to guide American bombers to their targets in both the European and Pacific theaters.
"Fortresses Under Fire" by Keith Ferris
During the Korean War (1951-1959), the airport was re-activated as the Hondo Air Base, training the pilots who would fly combat missions in Korea and Vietnam.
The "Tex" Hill Wing considers the airport to be "hallowed ground". Men did not come there to die as at the Alamo. They came to train and then they went away to live or die while flying over enemy territory. Their mission: protecting this nation's freedom. The number of Hondo Army Air Field and Hondo Air Base graduates who died in combat is unknown, but the price they paid for our freedom is immeasurable.
HONDO ARMY AIRFIELD MUSEUM (HAAM)
In 2014, the "Tex" Hill Wing reached the point where it could proclaim its goal: To create a permanent home for the Wing in an aviation history museum -- the Hondo Army Airfield Museum (HAAM). Today, the museum is actively seeking funds with which to build the museum.
The Wing worked diligently for the first four years in Hondo to establish a good reputation in the community. Our initial, visible action was to put on display in the Hondo airport terminal items destined for the museum. Artifacts from navigator training during World War II are shown below.
Photo courtesy of Ann Chen, Medina Valley Times
Critical alliances with the Hondo City Fathers and Airport Management have been forged. The Hondo City Council has approved our request for a plot of land on the airport flightline upon which to build our museum. Sources of funding are being pursued, and talented people have taken on the task of helping us to realize our vision.
Below is our vision for the museum. Take a 3-D virtual tour!
3-D model by Colonel Jared Bond, "Tex" Hill Wing member
On Armed Forces Day each year, the Tex Hill Wing hosts a special event, "Warbirds Over Hondo", giving the public an opportunity to see, hear, and touch some of the famous aircraft from World War II. See more at www.warbirdsoverhondo.com.
The Tex Hill Wing hosts other events and also participates in Hondo Chamber of Commerce sponsored events, all to honor the veterans who fight the wars that allow us the freedoms we enjoy.
For Veteran's Day each year, the Tex Hill Wing hosts Veterans Celebration, as a salute to our veterans, an event filled with music and speeches honoring those who served.
The Wing participates in the Medina County Fair, Christmas in God's County, and Welcome New Teachers to name a few. Here are two pictures from one of our Medina County Fair booth exhibits.
The kids in the bottom picture are holding souvenir pictures of Hondo Army Air Field graduate navigator Jack T. Hardwick, his fellow crewmen, and their B-17 aircraft "Minnie the Mooch".
OUR PRESERVATION EFFORTS
Take a look at L-Bird Tales. It is the story of our Stinson L-5. Largely unnoticed in aviation history because of its semblance to a Piper Cub, the L-5 served as a forward reconnaisance aircraft, the beginning of Air Evacuation, and was the only aircraft to be launched off the side of a Navy ship on a "clothesline". We adopted this aircraft in 2013, and have completed a full restoration, making it as airworthy as it was during its combat years.
If you want to learn more about Jack Hardwick, mentioned above, and the many others who built, worked, and trained at the Hondo Army Air Field during World War II, we have a special two hour DVD available. This DVD has a prologue that covers the seeds of WWII, from the after-effects of WWI through the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
We also offer a DVD covering the Texas Aviation Industries (TAI) period from 1951 to 1959, when the airport, renamed the Hondo Air Base, was re-opened as a military pilot training school. Meet the people and hear their stories about the "second history" of the airport, and join the members of training class 55-J as they reminisce about their experiences during a reunion at Hondo Air Base in 2011.
For more information about the Tex Hill Wing, including becoming a member, purchasing one or both of the DVDs, or about our HAAM initiative, please use the "Contact Us" page by clicking here or selecting it from the menu at the top of the page.