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Gunnery scholar researches Washington aviator

Published 4:36 pm, Wednesday, December 26, 2012
  • Thomas A. Burger III, this yearís Gunn Scholar at The Gunnery, is shown in early December during his research trip to Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of the Gunnery Photo: Contributed Photo
    Thomas A. Burger III, this yearís Gunn Scholar at The Gunnery, is shown in early December during his research trip to Washington, D.C. Courtesy of the Gunnery Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Thomas A. Burger III, this year's Gunn Scholar at The Gunnery, a private school in Washington, recently took his research to the national archives.

He headed to Washington to mine original documentation on his subject -- Gunnery alum Gen. Benjamin D. Foulois, the founder of the U.S. Army Air Force.

With the assistance of Gunnery project advisor Paula Krimsky, Tom visited the National Archives in College Park, Md., and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7-8.

He reviewed original correspondence and rare film footage of Gen. Foulois, who came from the town of Washington and learned to fly with the Wright Brothers.

Staff members of both the National Archives Movie and Video research center and the Library of Congress manuscript room cooperated fully in giving Tom access and copying rights.

Gen. Foulois, a member of The Gunnery Class of 1893 who died in 1967, willed his papers to the Library of Congress, as had the Wright brothers. A prolific communicator, the general left a large legacy in the Gunnery archives and published an autobiography.

Tom has also interviewed descendants of Gen. Foulois and local historian Bill Bader, whose father was a boyhood friend of the general's.

Another invaluable source has been U.S. Air Force doctor Douglas Files, who has written a book about Gen. Foulois and shared his interview notes with Tom, Class of 2013.