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The First Daedalian

From the Daedalus Flyer Archives

Have you ever wondered who was the first Daedalian? The answer of course, is Daedalus II, also known as Lt. General Harold L. “Hall” George, USAF (Ret). Here is the story of how it happened, taken from the minutes of a meeting held at Maxwell Field, Alabama, over 40 years ago.

In November 1933, a group of Army Air Corps officers met in the quarters of Captain Harold L. George at Maxwell Field, Alabama, created themselves an ad hoc committee and determined that they were going to organize a society of those who first flew their country’s airplanes in time of war. The committee was composed of: Charles Y. Banfill, John F. Barker, Roland Birnn, Leo H. Dawson, Harold L. George, George M. Palmer, Edwin R. McReynolds, Odas O. Moon, Charles T. Skow, William R. Sweeley and Bernard S. Thompson.

Organization of such a society had been discussed since by the seven or eight hundred pilots them comprising the total strength of the Army Air Service, but, for a multitude of reasons, no final action had been taken. The newly organized ad hoc committee was determined it was going to create such an organization even if they would constitute the entire membership. They elected Captain Hal George as committee chairman; and, after numerous meetings, had drawn up a constitution, determined the eligibility for membership, and with the assistance of a Professor of History at the University of Alabama, decided that Daedalus – although a mythological being – would be their Patron Saint, and that the organization would be named the Order of Daedalians.

The committee then called a meeting of all the officers on duty at Maxwell, including students at the Air Corps Tactical School. There were 35 officers who met the requirements for eligibility of membership:

  1. Commissioned officers in the military services of the United State
  2. Pilots of heavier-than-air aircraft
  3. Having achieved both of the above not later than the Armistice of WWI, November 11, 1918.

Captain George called the meeting to order, and First Lieutenant Roland Birnn, acting secretary of the ad hoc committee, told the officers present what the committee had accomplished, read them the constitution, and announced the name they had decided upon – ORDER OF DAEDALIANS.

Captain George then asked if any present were in disagreement; and if so, they would be permitted to leave. There was no dissent – the vote was unanimous.

Lieutenant Birnn then asked Captain George to stand – raise his right hand – and repeat after him the Promise of a Daedalian to the other officers.

It was on that day, March 26, 1934, in the auditorium of Austin Hall, Maxwell Field, that the Order of Daedalians was born. It was on that day that Captain Harold L. George, now Lieutenant General Hal George became the first Daedalian.