The House on Feb. 5 concurred on Senate legislation containing a measure sponsored by Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks) to name a portion of State Route 562 in Berks County as the General Carl A. Spaatz Memorial Highway. As the Senate has already approved the bill, it now moves to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Carl Andrew Spaatz was born in Boyertown, Berks County, on June 28, 1891. Drawn to aviation after graduating from West Point in 1914 and being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry, he studied at the Aviation School at San Diego, CA.
Spaatz served with the 1st Aero Squadron as a first lieutenant under Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing during the Punitive Expedition into Mexico. He was promoted to captain in May 1917. He served in France with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
“Spaatz was a true pioneer in the early days of aviation and a decorated war hero,” Maloney said. “His quest for what others thought impossible drove him to push the envelope and spearhead a new way of thinking in military combat, surveillance and reconnaissance. As a fighter pilot, he is credited with shooting down three German Fokker planes behind enemy lines, which were highly regarded for their dog-fighting abilities, and earned the Distinguished Service Cross.”
After a very distinguished military career, in 1946 Spaatz was named commander-in-chief of the Army Air Force, and in 1947 he was named the first chief of staff of the newly independent U.S. Air Force. He went on to become the first chairman of the Civil Air Patrol National Board.
He retired from the military in 1948 and passed away on July 14, 1974. Maloney’s legislation would designate the portion of State Route 562 from the intersection with State Route 73 in the borough of Boyertown to the intersection with State Route 662 at the township line between Amity Township and Oley Township as the General Carl A. Spaatz Memorial Highway.
“Carl Spaatz’s importance to military and civil aviation contributed to America’s domination in air power around the globe,” Maloney said. “His life is that of an American legend that serves as an example to all Americans. Designating one of our local roads in his name memorializes his contributions to aviation and our nation’s military, and will be a source of local pride and history.”
Should the governor sign the bill into law, a ceremony to name the road will be announced at a later date, Maloney said.