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Forgotten heroes exist in every war and one such group consists of many pilots who served both as enlisted and commissioned aviators in World War II. This dedicated group provided the vital functions known as observation, spotting, artillery fire control, forward air control, communications, command and control, medical evacuation and many other functions that just “needed done” on the battlefield. The people who fulfilled these roles are referred to as "Liaison Pilots." More people are familiar with the Forward Air Controller of the Vietnam era through television coverage and motion picture fame. There is a need to chronicle the feats of these mostly forgotten brave men, the Liaison Pilots. A man called Hardy Cannon accepted this task.
In 1981 Bill Stratton, Hardy Cannon, and a group of men in San Antonio, Texas formed the "Alamo Liaison Group" (ALG). Under the tutelage of Cannon, a Master Mechanic, the ALG in 1982 completed restoration of a 1941 Stinson L-1, a 1941 Taylorcraft L-2, a 1942 Aeronca L-3B, a Piper L-4, a 1942 Stinson L-5, and a 1942 Interstate (L-8) S-1A.
The ALG, which now operates under the name Alamo Liaison Squadron (ALS), is made up of San Antonio area business and professional men and women, some of whom are retired military. Many involved are also members in good standing of other WWII "old airplane" groups, such as the Commemorative Air Force and the Experimental Aircraft Association's Warbirds of America.
Alamo Liaison Squadron aircraft are flown by veteran and volunteer pilots who have mastered the art of flying "taildraggers," aircraft referred to as such due to their single rear wheel. During the year, the squadron pilots provide flyovers for local parades and events such as Poteet Strawberry Festival, Floresville Peanut Festival, Veterans Day and Memorial Day Celebrations just to name a few.
Squadron members not only fly the aircraft but also help in the restoration and maintenance of the Liaison Aircraft, or L-Birds. Over the years, more than 15 aircraft have come back to life at the hands of skilled squadron members. L-Birds are built of steel tubing covered in fabric. The art of "Tube and Fabric" repair and covering, which was becoming a vanishing talent, is still alive and well today at Cannon Field.
Missing man formation flight performed by Alamo Liaison Squadron.
Today, Alamo Liaison Squadron maintains a collection Taylorcraft L-2, Aeronca L-3, Piper L-4, Stinson L-5, and Interstate L-6 flying examples. Some of these aircraft are owned by individual squadron members who base the aircraft on the field.
The organization is a fully qualified 501c3 corporation which derives its funding from member dues and payments for flying time, contributions from organizers of the events supported and contributions from the general public, old airplane buffs, and visitors to Cannon Field. The contributions, which are all tax deductible, have come in many forms... as flyable aircraft, restorable aircraft, parts and cash.
Alamo Laison Squadron appears at airshows, parades, fairs, and other population gatherings to further our mission of keeping the memory alive of those forgotten heroes, the "Liaison Pilots." The Texas Historic Commission has designated Alamo Liaison Squadron as a bona fide flying historical museum. The group seeks to perpetuate in the memory and hearts of the American people the spirit in which these airplanes were flown for the defense of the nation.
Watch Alamo Liaison Squadron on San Antonio's KSAT 12. Reporter Katrina Webber, visited Cannon Field and interviewed ALS members in September 2016. View the report here.
Read about Alamo Liaison Squadron in AOPA Pilot Magazine. Writer Barry Schiff, along with photographer Mike Fizer, paid a visit and flew our L-Birds in April 2015. Download the article PDF here.
If you would like to support the activities of Alamo Liaison Squadron, we encourage you to do so using the PayPal link below:
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