Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Honoring Pappy Boyington

Yesterday, we reported on the refusal of the University of Washington Student Senate to pass a resolution honoring WWII ace (and Washington grad) Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. Lt Col Boyington, who died in 1988, was the top Marine Corps ace of World War II, downing 26 Japanese aircraft while leading the famous "Black Sheep" squadron. On his last combat mission, Boyington himself was shot down and spent 20 months as a Japanese POW. For his heroism, Lt Col Boyington received both the Navy Cross and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Alert reader Secretagent may have found a solution for this problem. He discovered that the federal government recently gave the university $5 million to build a new bioengineering research facility, and another $12.4 million to fund a "science of learning" center.

If the feds are ponying up the money, then (presumably) they should have some say in who these complexes are named after. Supporters of Colonel Boyington to get in touch with GOP members of the Washington Congressional delegation, and get them to lean on the university administration. The message should be short and direct: give Pappy Boyington the memorial he deserves by naming a federally-funded facility on the UW campus after him. Personally, I think the "Gregory Boyington Bioengineering Research Center" has a nice ring to it. A fitting tribute for an American hero--and a UW engineering grad.

Here's another idea: the university's Naval ROTC unit is located in a building named Clark Hall. Why not rename it Boyington Hall, or Clark-Boyington Hall?

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