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Airport control tower naming closer

Thu., Sept. 30, 2010

U.S. House passes bill honoring WWII veteran

Spokane International Airport’s control tower would be named for one of the facility’s former controllers, World War II veteran Ray Daves, under a bill that passed the House of Representatives this week.

Daves, 90, is a U.S. Navy survivor of Pearl Harbor who spent much of the remainder of the war in the Pacific. After the war, the former radio operator became an air traffic controller, settled in the Spokane area and worked at the airport for 27 years before retiring in 1974.

“It’s a great honor, and not only for me but for other controllers and veterans,” Daves said. “I’d never heard of them doing it before.”

Daves had been hospitalized recently at the Veterans Administration medical center with a kidney infection but said he’s doing much better. “I’m doing about everything but playing tennis,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers sponsored the bill to name the control tower for Daves, saying it will “remind all those who enter the tower of this great American as well as the sacrifices that were made by Ray and his generation.”

The bill passed Tuesday evening on a voice vote and now goes to the Senate.

Congress has the authority to name federal structures, although it’s usually exercised for post offices, courthouses or bridges. Naming an air traffic control tower might be unprecedented. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., said he knew of no control tower that had been named for a person.

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