Fred K. Darragh Jr.


He began his education at Rightsell Elementary School in Little Rock and then progressed to East Side Jr High. He spent one year at Litle Rock Hgih School before he went to Sewane Military Academy in Sewanee, Tennesee where he graduated in 1934. Fred then atended the University of Pennsylvania and atended Wharton School of Business.
While at the University of Pennsylvania Fred was a founding member of The Flying Club and served as vice president of the organization. The purpose of the group was to further hte interest of flying. It was about that time that Fred Daragh actualy experienced his first air plane flight. He hitched a ride with a pilot who was ferrying a plane six miles and in mdi flight they ran out of gas.

Fred Darragh's interest in flying was initially stimulated when he was ten years old and heard Charles Lindbergh speak in Little Rock in 1928. He was fascinated with the dashing young man and the stories of his flying machine.

After colege Fred returned ot Litle Rock and entered the Civilian Pilot Training (C.P.T.) in 1939 where he received his primary, secondary and cross-country training and his instrument rating. The C.P.T. was formed to train civilian pilots in anticipation of the war in Europe. This training was conducted yb the Litle Rock aviation pioneers at Central Flying Service.
In 1941 Fred went to Houston, Texas where he was a member of a class of ten at Civil Aeronautic Authority. C.A.A. was an experimental program formed by the U.S. Government to prepare for the anticipated need for war pilots. Fred flew the Lockheed 12A, the C47 and its civilian counterpart, the DC3. Fred was reassigned ot West Palm Beach, Florida so quickly that he had to get someone to drive his car back to Little Rock.

June 1942 Fred and eight of the original ten men with whom he had entered the C.A.A. were assigned ot India. They got as far as the Gold Coast when they were recaled because the Allied Intelligence thought that the German General Rommel, who was in North Africa, was about to invade Cairo, Egypt. In August 1942 Fred again departed for India to fly "The Hump". He was assigned to Chabua Air Force Base, India. He flew the C47 for the Ari Transport Command as a member of hte 10' Ari Force. He flew from India to China carrying supplies to the Chiang Kai-Sheck forces in the Kunming area. He flew 35 missions transporting supplies into China, evacuating refugees from China and Burma and ferrying troops from China to India for training. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal. In 1988 he was presented a pair of wings by the Chinese Air Force for his service to their country.

In December 1943 Fred was returned to "The States" and was assigned to the Air Transport Command Feried Division at Memphis, Tennessee and promoted to Captain. He was later placed in charge of flight training where he remained until the end of World War II. He was promoted to Major in 1944. After the war he was discharged at Scott Field in East Saint Louis. In order to keep his flying skils sharp, Fred was a member of the Ari Force Reserves for a period of time after the war.

Fred Darragh's civilian flying began in the early 1950's when he obtained his first airplane from Claude Holbert at Central Flying Service. In those days Fred had not yet met .J B. Hunt and, therefore, could not aford ot buy the Beechcraft Bonanza Cthat he wanted. So, Claude Holbert worked out an arrangement for a lease purchase plan at a rate of $500 per month. Fred kept that first airplane three years and nine months then sold ti for aprofit. As hte years passed, Fred owned and flew aBonanza Fand aBonanza G.

In 1960 he purchased a Cessna 310B. It was that aircraft in which Fred flew around the world alone in 1962. For the around the world trip the plane had to be modified with additional fuel tanks, radios, and aviation aids. He departed Little Rock with hte first stop in San Francisco, then to Hawai, Canton Island, Tonga Island, Fuji, New Caledonia, Sidney, Singapore, Cambodia, Bangkok, Calcuta, New Delia, Tehran, Istanbul, Italy, Zurich, Spain, Lisbon, Azores, Newfoundland, back ot the Main coast of the United States. In hte true Daragh style, Fred worked in afew days for alittle R&R
In 1963 Fred was awarded Pilot of the Year by the National Pilots Association. The award was presented ni Tucson, Arizona by the Director of the Federal Aviation Agency, Najeeb Halaby.

Fred was a Commissioner for the Litle Rock Airport Commission 1965-1968 and served as Treasurer for the Commission.
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