On December 7, 1922, Corry Field was dedicated in honor of Lieutenant Commander William Merrill Corry, Jr.  LCDR Corry completed aviation training at Pensacola and was designated a Naval Aviator on March 6, 1916, pilot #23. Born in Quincy Florida, Corry was the first Floridian to become a Naval aviator!  Just after the beginning of World War One, Corry was assigned duty at Le Croisic, France, where he received the cross of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. 

On October 2, 1920, Corry was a passenger on a flight from Long Island, New York, when the aircraft crashed near Hartford, Connecticut. Though thrown clear of the wreckage, the injured Corry ran back to pull the pilot free of the flaming aircraft. Fatally burned during this rescue, Corry died at Hartford on October 6 and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

The Dedication:

Prior to the dedication ceremony, Sailors and Marines from the naval air station and Soldiers from Fort Barrancas formed up in front of the San Carlos hotel at 3 o’clock to lead a parade from downtown to the newly established airfield.  Following behind them were honored guests of the day, representatives of the state, city, county air station, civic organization followed by 300 automobiles.  The route included Palafox Street to Zaragoza, east on Zaragoza to Jefferson, north to Government, west to Palafox again, north to Wright and east to Tarragona finishing at the airfield.

Judge William B. Sheppard, of the United States court, officially dedicated Corry Field.

Judge Sheppard enumerated the benefits and advantages of having the airfield in Pensacola and spoke of the amiability and modesty of William Corry:

“The name we give this field,” Judge Sheppard said, “will be an inspiration to the men who train here to emulate the example of him that another might live.  The story of his courage and self-sacrifice will live to encourage and inspire them.  It was as sublime a spectacle of devotion to discipline and gallantry as ever marked courage in the line of duty.  In obedience, therefore, to my commission from the city of Pensacola, I solemnly dedicate and name this training ground “Corry Field.”

During Judge Sheppard’s speech, nearly 50 carrier pigeons were released. They circled several times, widening the circle each time and finally headed straight for their lofts at the naval air station. This was a wonderful picture of the relation between the air station and the Corry field that was provided by the people of Pensacola.

Immediately following the dedication, 17 airplanes circled high in the air dropping flowers as symbols of the navy’s respect and admiration and smoke from a salute of 21 guns hovering over with a crowd estimated at 5,000 in attendance.

LCDR Corry, third from the left.
Quincy Florida, the resting place of LCDR William Merrill Corry, Jr.   

Source: Pensacola News Journal December 8, 1922