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Herbert E. Swan

Herbert E. Swan

1924-

Herbert E. Swan was born June 21, 1924 in Eaton County, Michigan. He grew up on a farm and attended a one room schoolhouse near Dimondale.
Drafted into the Army in June, 1943, he was with the 27th Armored Infantry Battalion that captured the Lundendorff Bridge at Remagen. He was one of the first American soldiers ever to see a jet airplane; a German ME262 as it tried to destroy the bridge.

Twice wounded in action, he spent nine months in rehabilitation. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II European Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Good Conduct medal and the European Occupation medal.

Herb's aviation career started in 1965 in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, flying with a charter service to deliver electrical contract bids. He soloed in 1968, got his private license and went on to get commercial, sea plane, and instrument ratings. In 1970 he was appointed special deputy Sheriff of Chippewa County and served as the Sheriff Department's commander of the air search and rescue squad.

Herb served on the Kincheloe Air Force Base closure committee and the military to civilian use transition team. He was appointed to the Michigan Aeronautics commission in 1981 and re-appointed for another four year term, twice serving as chairman. One of his major accomplishments was enabling the passing of the "Tall Structures Act" by the Michigan legislature. Herb was appointed co-chairman of the Governor's Air Service task force and also co-chaired the Governor's Air Service Council.

Herb has received numerous citations from the U.S. Congress and the Michigan legislature for his contributions to aviation.

In 1987, Herb founded the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame and was elected its first President. On November 17, 1987, the first group of members were inducted, with each class including important Michigan aviation pioneers.

Herbert E. Swan, pilot, aviation advocate, and historian, was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 10, 1998 for 30 years of selfless contributions to Michigan aviation.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program