Board of Directors

Doug Jacobs

Doug Jacobs

(Retired LTC, Army), native Kansan from Liberal

“I served 34 years in the military, and after my initial three years on active duty, I spent the remainder of my career in the Kansas National Guard, and retired in 2005. I received my bachelors degree and ROTC commission from Kansas State University and a masters in public administration from the University of Kansas.”

“I’m a graduate of the Army War College, and was the curator for both the Museum of the Kansas National Guard and the 35th Infantry Museum in Topeka. My last period of active duty was in Bosnia-Herzogovinia. My grandson, Douglas, will be a freshman at WSU next year. I am married and live in Branson, Missouri.”

“My connection with Erwin Bleckley started when I became fascinated in his life after reading an article titled ‘Flying Aces’ by Dr. Charles J. Gross, which was published in ‘On Guard’ in 1994. The initial inquiry into Bleckley’s life revealed that few in the national guard knew who Bleckley was or what he accomplished. When I realized that few people knew of Bleckley, not only in the guard, but also in his home town of Wichita, my goal became to insure he would never be forgotten.”

Grant Schumaker

Captain Grant Schumaker

Alaska Airlines, retired

“I am the third generation of my family directly involved in Wichita aviation going back to the 1920’s. My father’s aircraft carrier was sunk by kamikazes in the Pacific. My uncle was shot down bombing the synthetic oil refinery at Belchammer. My grandfather worked with Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, Matty Laird, and Lloyd Stearman back in the 1920’s.”

“Hearing this aviation history from family members that experienced it first hand made those events come alive to me. My grandfather taught me how to build my own airplane, and years later I became sales manager in S.E. Asia for the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company. I left Boeing to fly for Eastern Airlines and then to Alaska Airlines, where I retired after 30 years flying the line.”

“Erwin Bleckley’s sacrifice in WW1 should be known by all of the people of Wichita, but unfortunately, not 1 of 1000 do. My mission is to install a lasting memorial to Wichita’s forgotten Medal of Honor aviator to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. To see his DH-4 flying over the skies of Wichita and a life size bronze statue of him in the Wichita airport will make that happen.”

Greg Zuercher

Greg Zuercher

Native Wichitan, retired Air Force/Army Soldier and Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran

“I’m a fifth generation Kansan, directly descended from seven generations (out of ten) that have served in our nation’s military. I served eight years in the Air Force, first as an F-16 avionics instrument and flight control technician, then as an satellite wideband tech. I branched Army to attend OCS, and served another 14 years as an infantry platoon and light wheeled vehicle maintenance supervisor, then lastly as a public affairs officer/military journalist.”

“I see in Bleckley a local hero who has not been given enough credit in his hometown. Which is why we held Bleckley Day on the centennial of his heroic death. The airport memorial is a natural outgrowth from that, and the most fitting honor for our only aviation Medal of Honor recipient. I like to leave people with this final question to sum up why we are doing this: ‘how can the Air Capital not honor it’s greatest aviation hero at its own airport?’”

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