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Huckleberries Online

Thu., Aug. 9, 2007, 9:03 a.m.

Hot Potatoes: A Hero’s Due — At Last

Finally, Kootenai County has done right by Pappy Boyington, the Coeur d'Alene native who became one of the most decorated heroes of World War
II. On a 2-0 vote, with a curious abstention by Chairman Rick Currie, commissioners heeded the continuing plea by local veterans to name the county airport field after Boyington. Commissioners Todd Tondee and Rich Piazza brushed aside lame excuses by the airport board, Currie and others that the name change would cause confusion among pilots and/or that Boyington had character flaws. In other words, the war hero drank too much after his military discharge and his days commanding the famous Black Sheep Squadron. (Then, you might drink, too, if you'd risked your life regularly in dogfights with enemy gunners and spent 20 months as a POW.) Some contend Pappy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Those who belittle Boyington's bravery are no better than the UWashington student senators who balked at erecting a campus monument to Pappy because they thought a flier who'd shot down 26 planes was a poor role model. At least the kids can be excused for being young and naïve.

Full Hot Potatoes column here

Question: Do you support the decision by Commissioners Tondee and Piazza to change the name of the airport field to honor WWII hero Pappy Boyington?

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.