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August 31, 2007

WWII pilot and daughter of Chennault show school spirit; Daggett donates aircraft to museum

WWII pilot Dick Daggett recently showcased a replica of the P-40 Warhawk he flew while he was stationed in China. Daggett, who displayed the replica in the Grove Aug. 30, was accompanied by Rosemary Chennault Simrall, daughter of Northeast Louisiana General Claire Chennault, and members of The Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana.

Aug. 30 wasn't the first time Daggett and Simrall showed their ULM spirit. Both were honored guests on June 26, 2006 in Fant-Ewing Coliseum when ULM welcomed its new mascot, the Warhawk. ULM's Warhawk has close ties to the area's aviation history.

Daggett, who created the aircraft over the course of 15 years, plans to donate it to the Friends of the Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana for a fitting tribute to General Chennault and the Flying Tigers who served in the China-Burma-India theatre during WWII.

Daggett, who now lives near Jonesville, was "very pleased to be here [in the Grove] and thanks ULM for allowing his 'Warhawk' to be displayed in support of ULM."

More about Daggett:

(Information provided by Daggett)
Capt. Daggett was assigned to the 28th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Fighter Group, Chinese-American Composite Wing, 14th Air Force, commanded by General Claire Chennault. Capt. Daggett flew 31 combat missions including bombing, strafing, and aerial combat. He was shot down 150 miles behind Japanese lines and was injured after he bailed out. He was unable to walk due to injuries to his legs. Chinese guerillas rescued him and carried him to Allied lines. This required 28 days and they were shot at by Japanese solders, but managed to evade capture.

His aircraft was named "Peep Weep." The "Peep" represented an aerial camera he carried to record results of attacks. The "Weep" represented his sadness from being separated from his new bride, Eula Routh, and the hardships of combat in China.

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