Dedication of Kanawha Airport

Charleston Daily Mail
August 27, 1985

Airport To Be Named Solely After Yeager

By Brian Farkas
Of The Daily Mail Staff

Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Chuck Yeager said he would be honored to have his last name used as the official designation for Kanawha Airport.

"The commission names the airport, and what ever they name it, I'll be honored," the Hamlin native said this morning from his California home.

Last month the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority voted to rename the mountaintop facility Kanawha-Yeager Airport. But yesterday members unanimously voted to give Yeager sole billing, said airport director Jeff Bubar.

Bubar said dedication ceremonies should be held at the airport on Oct. 14, the 38th anniversary of Yeager's breaking the sound barrier in an experimental rocket plane.

Authority Chairman Joe Ballengee said members considered dropping "Kanawha" because of public response in favor of honoring the retired Air Force general.

"I think there was an overwhelming public response in a positive manner, and each of them (authority members) thought we should name the airport after Gen. Yeager and not share the name with Kanawha," Ballengee said.

Lysander Dudley, state director of economic development, has agreed to serve as chairman of arrangements for the dedication, Ballengee said.

The general said he expects to attend the dedication ceremony for Yeager Airport after a dedication ceremony that morning in Hamlin.

"I spent a lot of time at the Hamlin Vocational School when I was younger, and they are going to rename it after me," Yeager said.

Yeager was informed of the decision last night by Charleston lawyer Paul Bowles, who served as Yeager's wing- man during World War II, Ballengee said.

To reflect the change in the name, Ballengee said perhaps a small statue bust of Yeager to display in the airport might be appropriate. But he added, there are no plans for a bust now.

Another possibility would be to hang a portrait of Yeager in a prominent place in the passenger terminal.

"We had a magnificent picture of Gen. Yeager after he broke the sound barrier," Ballengee said. "It hung outside the outer office. It belonged to the general, and he asked for it back about five years ago.

"I intend to ask for it back," he said.