Like other people, we believe careful consideration should be given to naming whatever after whomever. Too often people who are deserving to be honored in the “naming” game are overlooked, and others who are not as qualified are so honored.
What comes to mind are two individuals who are qualified candidates in different fields of endeavor to be recognized by having a facility named after them.
One is Jim Pounds, grandfather and father of tennis in Washington. The new tennis complex at Phoenix Park should bear his name.
The other is Carl Cochran, who also could be considered the father of the Washington Regional Airport. Something at the airport should be named in his honor.
It appears as if the park board has eliminated Pounds from consideration in naming the new tennis courts after him even though proponents of that sport have recommended him. Pounds was placed in the Hall of Fame at city hall some years ago for his promotion of tennis. We are not downgrading that recognition, but it’s not the same as having the new tennis complex named after him.
Pounds’ efforts to promote the sport date back to the 1940s. There wasn’t much interest in tennis here at that time, but he continued to push, and push. There were a few private courts, some of which were very crude. Finally, the tennis courts were built at the fairgrounds (Bernie E. Hillermann Park), and more were added at the Optimist Park facility on East Ninth Street. With the courts, interest increased. Now the sport is well established here, thanks to the untiring efforts of Jim Pounds.
No one has done more to promote the sport of tennis here than the late Jim Pounds.
Recognition of the late Carl Cochran is moving forward and it appears something at the airport will be named after him. A program is being planned to pay tribute to him at the airport Saturday, Oct. 27. The planning is being done by his close friends, the city’s airport committee, and the airport operators.
We don’t think we will be challenged when we say again that Cochran put the Washington airport on the map by his promotion of it. As a naval aviator and as a commercial airliner pilot, he had many friends and contacts across the country. His Ozark Air Lines alumni group held reunions at the airport. TWA pilots and their families were included in the reunions since many of the pilots flew with Ozark before it was acquired by TWA. Fly-ins were common at the airport and flight instructions were given in various aircraft. Some mechanical work was done at the airport under his supervision. Traffic increased under his leadership.
The Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, presented The Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award to him in 2011. The award was “In appreciation for your dedicated service, technical expertise, professionalism, and many outstanding contributions that further the cause of aviation safety.” To be presented this national award is a big deal. Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, is one of the award recipients.
We had the pleasure to know both of these men rather well. We flew with Carl to take aerial photos. Both were exceptional men. Their zeal to promote activities that were limited here, and to work for the betterment of the city’s recreational and transportation interests, was outstanding.
Both men are deserving of recognition by giving their names lasting impact by naming the new tennis courts after Pounds, and something at the airport after Cochran.