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Pictured above: CAPT Mike Denkler, USN (Ret), Ashley D. Pace, Jr., CDR David Van Der Like,USNR (Ret) and CAPT Dan McCort, USN (Ret)

The best part about our business is connecting with the various community organizations that support the veteran community. When we started we knew that we wanted to tell the stories of our aging warrior aviators. Our community is a rich resource for these stories as we live in the birthplace of Naval Aviation and the home of the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration team. It is also the home of the National Naval Aviation Museum, which also turns out to be a magnet for these storied aviators.

The tour guides (docents) at the museum are a formidable, all-volunteer cadre of living legends. They happily donate their time to help visitors understand the rich history of US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard Aviation histories. Many of these tour guides flew the actual airplanes on display! That’s about as close as you can get to living history!

Among the many organizations supporting the community, there are two that we would like to highlight. The first is the Pensacola Council of the Navy League, headed by former Training Air Wing Six Commander CAPT Dan McCort, (RET). The other is The Order of Daedalians, headed by Flight Captain CAPT Mike Denkler (RET). Both organizations exert significant influence, on a national scale, bringing attention to the greater Pensacola community. We won’t detail all of their accomplishments in this post, they are widely known, but we did want to draw attention to a particular member of our community that was inducted into the Order of Daedalians today (02/26/2020).

Ashley ‘Dick’ Pace, Jr. is a Pensacola native. His family ties go deep into the fabric of our community. In fact, his family ties go deep into the fabric of our nation. He is the nephew of Coast Guard Aviator #1, Elmer ‘Archie’ Stone, who made the first Transatlantic flight in the NC-4, 9 years before Charles Lindbergh made the first solo crossing. He is a captivating storyteller with an incredible recall that is rare in a young man, much less a centenarian!

As you can see, Mr. Pace joined the Order of Daedalians at the ripe young age of 100, surrounded by the organization power team of CAPT Denkler (RET) and CAPT McCort (RET). It’s hard to express how rare and significant this event really is, but trust me when I say, you won’t find a more honorable, dedicated American, but you may find his peers. They still exist, but we are blessed to have Ashley Pace in our community, still engaged and leading the charge! Congratulations to Shangri-La Flight, Pensacola, Florida.

David Van Der Like

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