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10th Anniversary of the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Reception

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In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Columbia space shuttle disaster, the Philip C. Price Lubbock Chapter of the Texas Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc. is sponsoring an exhibit honoring West Texas astronauts, COL Rick Husband and CDR Willie McCool, who perished in the Columbia space shuttle disaster on February 1, 2003. The exhibit will be housed in Lubbock's Silent Wings Museum. It will open on Friday, February 1, 2013, and will continue as featured exhibit at the Museum for six weeks, until March 17, 2013.In 1971, former pilots of the U.S. Army Air Force's Glider Program banded together to form the National World War II Glider Pilots Association Inc. Their mission was to establish a forum for glider pilots to interact socially and provide the framework for the preservation of the history of the U.S. glider program.

One of its first goals was to locate and restore a WACO CG-4A glider for public display. Several glider pilots in the Dallas area learned about a CG-4A glider sitting atop a tire store in Fresno, California. After World War II, the aircraft had been purchased as military surplus, placed on top of the building and used as advertising. The glider was purchased and restoration was completed in time for the 1979 national reunion in Dallas. After the reunion, steps were taken to build a museum to house the CG-4A.

The first Silent Wings Museum opened to the public on November 10, 1984 in Terrell, Texas. By 1997, the pilots realized that a more permanent museum home was needed. Lubbock, where a majority of the glider pilots had trained, offered to provide a new site for the museum. The pilots selected Lubbock as the new location and the Terrell site closed in January 2001. In October 2002, the former South Plains Army Airfield site opened the new Silent Wings Museum with the restored CG-4A glider as a centerpiece of the exhibits.

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