On Monday, November 12, 2018, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 45th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and subsidizes the Hall of Fame and Museum, on Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro, NJ. It is one of the museum’s biggest fund-raising events of the year.
Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey preserves Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. Men and women, whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state, are inducted into the Hall of Fame every year.
Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum and attends the Hall of Fame induction dinner every year. Ken Forester Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was inducted in 2008. His son, Meridian CEO, Ken Forester Jr., was among those who attended the ceremony for the company.
This event recognized four individuals, connected to New Jersey, who have each contributed to advancing human flight.
Congratulations to all of the 2018 Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees!
You can read their bios below.
Emil Buehler (1899-1983)
The Emil Buehler Trust was established in 1984 to perpetuate the memory of Emil Buehler and his commitment to aviation science and technology. Aviation visionary, architect and engineer. Emil Buehler was born 1899 in Alpirsbach, a small town in Germany. He first experienced flying at age 17 as a pilot in the World War I German navy. Following the war, he graduated from the University of Stuttgart with degrees in architecture and engineering – moving to America within the year to pursue his career. A pioneer in aeronautics as well as a designer of buildings, Mr. Buehler was actively involved in many of the significant aviation events that took place in New Jersey during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. He operated his own school of aeronautics at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, ran a seaplane base on the Hudson River, and later designed and personally supervised the construction of an aviation facility at the Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale. His aeronautic involvements also included funding the development of a wind tunnel with Mach 3 capability – allowing the testing of space vehicles in design configurations at speeds up to three times the speed of sound. The internationally-known Emil Buehler Mach 3 wind tunnel is located at Rutgers, the State of New Jersey university, which in 1974 conferred on Emil Buehler the title of Eminent Engineer. His legacy of philanthropic commitment extends to a number of leading educational institutions, including Bergen Community College. Mr. Buehler died in 1983.
Linda Fritsche Castner (1947- )
Born and raised on Alexandria Field Airport, Linda Fritsche Castner’s legacy is as a pioneer in developing and implementing non-traditional outreach programs at public-use airports. She’s been a private pilot since she was 17 and is an Advanced Ground Instructor. Her company “Up, Up, and Away in Hunterdon, Inc.” provides innovative, aviation-themed content to participants as diverse as Pre-K students through corporate and academic professionals. Castner is a passionate advocate for the latent potential small airports have to become valued community assets for STEM education. Among Linda’s aviation accomplishments she is Co-Owner/Operator of Alexandria Field (N85), Master Aviation Educator (since 2015). The MAE is an achievement that few ever earn. She is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Association Board of Directors. Linda produced the Magic of Alexandria Balloon Festival for ten years (1989-1998) donating $210,000 to charities. She has written numerous articles and aviation program grants. The largest was in 2010 the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education program grant for a total of $150,000 for which she served as the Program Director.
Huntley Lawrence (1963- )
Growing up in Queens, NY, next to LaGuardia Airport, Huntley developed a passion for aviation. As a young man, he attended an aviation program offered at Public School 127, and those early years were foundational in his lifelong passion for aviation. As a student at August Martin High School, Huntley selected a curriculum that provided him the opportunity to learn and excel in all aspects of aviation. His passion for aviation continued as a student at Florida Institute of Technology. He worked for the Port Authority as an intern while still in high school, and began his full-time career with the agency after his graduation from FIT. In the years that followed, Huntley held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in airport operations at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia airports. Following 9/11, the Short Hills, NJ resident helped manage the transition at Newark Liberty from civilian security under the FAA to oversight by the newly created U.S. Transportation Security Administration. He became General Manager for New Jersey Airports in 2011, Deputy Director of Aviation in 2014, and Director of Aviation in January 2017. As Director, Huntley is responsible for managing one of the world’s largest airport systems, comprising JFK, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Teterboro, and New York Stewart International airports. The airport system serves tens of millions of passengers annually while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars in economic activity for the New York/New Jersey region.
Colonel Arthur E. Martone (1923- )
Colonel Arthur E. Martone a life-long New Jersey resident, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and completed his training in 1943 as a fighter pilot. The colonel flew 166 combat mission during WWII. Flying a P-40 on his 166th mission, ironically on June 6th, 1944, Arthur was shot down eighty-miles behind enemy lines in Monte Cristo, Italy. Bailing out, although injured he was found and kept alive by Italian Partisans until American troops retook the area. For his service, Colonel Martone was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged in November of 1945. In 1947, Colonel Martone joined the Air National Guard, the 119th Fighter Squadron flying P-47s. Arthur was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict. After the end of the Korean War, he assigned to the 141st Tactical Fighter Squadron, McGuire AFB flying F-84S; being recalled to active duty in 1961-1962 serving in France with the 141st Tactical Squadron flying 2,811 sorties. IN 1969, Arthur was promoted to Colonel. While at McGuire he served in many staff positions including eight-years as Director of Operations and Special Assistant to the Commander of the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing. In June of 1980, after serving with great distinction Colonel Martone retired. In 1986, he was honored with his name being placed on the F-84 he flew at a dedication aboard the USS Intrepid. In retirement, the Colonel was a member of the Monmouth Flying Club serving as Treasurer and President for ten years. He is still active as a speaker.
Wood-Ridge, NJ – On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 42nd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and financially supports the hall of fame and museum, located on Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro, NJ. It is one of the museum’s biggest fund raising events of the year.
Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey is dedicated to the preservation of the Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. Men and women whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum, and representatives of the company enjoy attending the induction dinner every year. Ken Forester, Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was himself inducted into the hall of fame in 2008. He was also in attendance on Tuesday evening.
This event recognized three individuals who are connected to New Jersey and who have each uniquely contributed to the advancement of human flight.
The NJ Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees were:
Maj. Joseph Crecca (Born 1940)
Born and raised in New Jersey, Crecca graduated from Bloomfield High School and went on to earn a B.S. degree from Newark College of Engineering in 1962. He entered the USAF in 1964 and began flight training. He finished Officer’s Training School as a Distinguished Military Graduate. After being certified as an F-4C Phantom Weapons Systems Officer, Crecca shipped out to Vietnam in July of 1966. In November of that year, after flying 87 combat missions, his aircraft was shot down over enemy territory by a Surface to Air missile. He was captured and spent the next six years and three months incarcerated by the North Vietnamese; including time spent in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” P.O.W. camp. After release in 1973 Crecca went through jet requalification in the T-38 and then became an F-4E pilot. For the next four years he was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where, in addition to flying, he held a number of leadership positions.
In 1978 Crecca left the Air Force to become a commercial pilot. He received a position at Flying Tigers and went on to fly the DC-8 and 747. In 1989 Flying Tigers was merged into Federal Express. At Federal Crecca flew MD-11’s as First Officer and Captain. After reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 for pilots he continued as a Flight Engineer on DC-10’s before retiring in 2005.
Medals awarded to Crecca include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, eight Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, the Prisoner of War Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of gallantry with Palm.
Cpt. Kenneth T. Ham (Born 1964)
Hailing from Plainfield, Ham graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 with a degree in aerospace engineering. He later earned an M.S. in the same subject from the Naval Postgraduate program. After being commissioned an officer Ham was assigned to the NASA-JSC Zero-g flight research program at Ellington Field in Houston. In 1989 he became a Naval Aviator and reported to Florida’s NAS Cecil Field where he trained on F/A-18’s prior to joining the Privateers of VFA-132, and later the Gunslingers of VFA-105. He completed two carrier deployments involving combat missions over Northern Iraq and Bosnia. During this time Ham served as Air Wing Strike Leader. Following this posting he became a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and test flew the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.
In 1998 he was selected to be a NASA astronaut. Ham’s first spaceflight was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-124 mission in 2008. He served as pilot and spent nearly two weeks in orbit, including a docking with the International Space Station (ISS). In 2010 Ham was Mission Commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission, also to the ISS. By the close of this mission Ham had logged a combined total of 24 days in space. After leaving NASA he became Chair of Aerospace Engineering at Annapolis, only recently departing to join a commercial spaceflight company.
Ham is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, and the Association of Space Explorers. He has logged over 6,000 hours piloting more than 40 aircraft types and has made more than 300 carrier landings.
Lt. Col. Jay Zeamer, Jr. (1918-2007)
A childhood resident of Orange, Zeamer was an Eagle Scout by age 13. In 1940 he graduated from M.I.T. with a degree in civil engineering. Already an Army reservist with an interest in aviation, Zeamer joined the active force in 1940 and graduated from flight school in 1941. Stationed in New Guinea at the time of Pearl Harbor Zeamer became a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. By May 1943 he had already won two Silver Stars on combat flights.
On June 16th, 1943 Zeamer was in command of a B-17 photo-reconnaissance mission over Japanese-held Bougainville. On the return flight his aircraft was intercepted by an estimated 17 enemy fighters. In a 45-minute running battle he and his crew shot down at least five aircraft despite eight airmen, including Zeamer, being wounded. The B-17 was heavily damaged, losing both oxygen and hydraulic systems. Despite being severely injured, and drifting in and out of consciousness, he directed his crew to a safe landing at a base 580 miles away. For this action Zeamer was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor along with his bombardier, the one casualty of the mission.
After the war Zeamer earned a Masters degree in aeronautical engineering from M.I.T. and worked as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney, Hughes Aircraft, and Raytheon before retiring in 1968. When he passed away in 2007 he was the last living USAAF Medal of Honor recipient.
In addition to the Medal and the Silver Stars Zeamer was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.
Wood Ridge, NJ – On the evening of Tuesday, October 15, 2013, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 41st Annual Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood Ridge, NJ. The event honored three aviation pioneers hailing from the Garden State. This year’s honored guests included: Timothy Chopp, founder of the Berlin Airlift Historical foundation; Neil Nederfield, nationally honored aviation maintenance safety expert; and Lt. Col. Thomas Robert Vaucher, WWII B-29 Superfortress commander. Meridian proudly supports the NJAHOF, which sent ten representatives from the company to the gala, including Kenneth Forester, Sr., who was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in 2008.
For more information about the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey, visit their website at www.njahof.org.