McGuire Air Force Base

In 1998 the historians and public relations people at McGuire Air Force Base contacted Jerry Connors, a former serviceman and local historian, regarding a street named "Wonnacott Avenue" on McGuire Air Force Base. It is on the oldest part of base now occupied by the Air National Guard.

McGuire was in the process of renaming streets and they did not want to disturb proven historical names.
Before any proposal to change the name they tried to find out who this street a named after. If and when the name was given and was it an inheritance from the days prior to McGuire being named.
Jerry was at McGuire Air Force Base back in 1949 to 1951 and then again from 1954-1956 and and has kept a decent history of his time there. However he did not know who this Street is named after.
McGuire was previously named alternately "Rudd Field" and Fort Dix Army Air Forces Base. In August 1948, Congress had named it McGuire AFB after Maj Thomas B. McGuire Jr., who was from Ridgewood, New Jersey. Aircraft have been transiting this flying field since the mid-1920s, though none were permanently stationed there until 1940.

Wonnacott.org posted a query on its website and published a version of this page in December 1998. Now exactly five years later we have been provided with the information by the son of Harry J. Wonnacott.

The street "Wonnacott Avenue" was named after Lieutenant Harry J. Wonnacott who on May 9th 1950 was at the controls of an F- 82 Interceptor when an engine failure caused the plane to crash into mountain outside Knoxville, Tennessee at 8.23 p.m. A survivor of the crash, Captain Stephen McLain parachuted out.
Wonnacott was stationed at McGuire and was on a turnaround trip to the Oak Ridge Tennessee's "nuclear facility" when the plane went down.
He had only recently returned from duty at Johnson Air Force Base in Japan.

Copyright © 2002, wonnacott.org
Created -- 28-11-02
Updated -- 22-04-06
URL: http://www.wonnacott.org/mcguire.htm

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