Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame announces 2023 honorees who will be recognized at November 18 dinner


The group includes a WWII bomber pilot who was an original pilot in the RI National Guard in 1939; a father/son team who flew combat missions in WWII and Vietnam, respectively; and two Army helicopter pilots, also Vietnam combat veterans. The Hall of Fame will also honor a Providence native and World War I Royal Flying Corps pilot who later became a prominent RI auto dealer, as well as the former Navy pilot who became the first manager of the Quonset Industrial Park.


Awardees have Barrington, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, North Kingstown, Providence, Smithfield, South Kingstown Warwick and West Greenwich connections, and include attendees of

Moses Brown; St. Andrew’s School; Central, Classical, East Providence, Hope, Mt. Pleasant

and Warren High Schools; as well as Brown University and the University of Rhode Island.


PROVIDENCE— The RI Aviation Hall of Fame will induct seven new members and honor three others with special recognition awards as part of their 21st class of honorees. The ceremony and dinner will take place at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Cranston Saturday evening, November 18th. Reception is at 5:30PM; dinner and awards will follow.


Guest of Honor is long-time Warwick Neck resident Dewey Turilli, who served as a ground crewman with a P-51 Mustang squadron on Iwo Jima in 1945. He will be 101 years old in February.


A Posthumous Combat Recognition goes to Captain Charles Pratte, USAAF, (1915-1945); a highly decorated B-24 bomber pilot from Warren, killed in action at Chichi Jima in January 1945.


Pratte also earns this year’s Galkin Award, named for the Hall of Fame’s most generous benefactors. (See below for more on the Galkin Award.) Pratte earned national recognition and the Distinguished Flying Cross for saving his damaged, brakeless aircraft by tying parachutes to gun mounts on a forced landing in December, 1943. He earned four Air Medals and the Purple Heart in addition to his DFC.


The 2023 President’s Award, given to a Rhode Islander who was involved with aviation but who made his primary mark in another field, goes to automobile dealer and political operative George Merlyn Power O’Keefe (1898-1954).A Classical High School grad, he left Providence at the age of 19 in 1917 to go to Canada where he joined the Royal Flying Corps. O’Keefe flew reconnaissance and observation missions for Britain for the rest of the war.


Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend this dinner. Tickets cost $65 each and can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or logging in to our website at www.riahof.org. For further information, please call 401-831-8696.


Honorees are selected by an ad hoc committee representing several aviation groups. The committee includes all previous inductees, such as Robert Crandall, former chairman of American Airlines; Jennifer Murray, the first woman to fly a helicopter around the world; and Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders.


Short bios of each honoree are attached. Lynn “Skip” Carter, Nuttall, and Turilli are still living; the other awards are posthumous.






Colonel John F. "Jack" Barrett, US Air Force, Retired (1912-1997)

WWII patrol and bomber pilot. Raised in Barrington, he learned to fly in 1936 after a hitch in the Merchant Marine. As a general aviation pilot he was recruited in 1939 for the 152nd Observation Squadron, the first air unit of the RI National Guard. Barrett was commended for saving two crew members after crash landing in Boston Harbor. During WWII he flew as an anti-sub patrol pilot; B-17 and B-24 instructor; flight inspector, 15th Air Force, North Africa and Italy. He flew 11 B-24 combat missions; in 1949 he was named CO of the reconstituted 152nd Fighter Squadron, RI Air National Guard.


Lieutenant Colonel Lynn Carter, US Air Force, Retired (1919-2014)

B-26 and B-25 bomber pilot; 69 combat missions WWII; awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre and seven Air Medals. Graduated Brown University postwar; lived in East Providence while working in the Defense Products Division of Brown & Sharpe 1954-1962. Carter served in the Air Force Reserve until retirement, including a P-47 fighter squadron assignment at Niagara Falls during the Korean War. Steel industry executive.


Lieutenant Commander Lynn “Skip” Carter II, US Navy, Retired (1946-)

Skip spent his boyhood in East Providence and attended East Providence High School before going to the US Naval Academy with the Class of 1968. As a Naval Aviator he flew numerous carrier-based combat missions over Vietnam, earning multiple Strike/Flight Air Medals and three Commendation Medals with combat “V”. Carter is a graduate of Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun). After leaving the Navy, he flew 747s around the world for Atlas Air until mandatory retirement at age 60.


Commander John B. Dana, US Navy, Retired (1932-1988)

Naval Aviator, Patrol and Early Warning Pilot. In 1968 he was a Thailand-based test pilot for Air Force sensor missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. A long time North Kingstown resident, he served as Operations Officer, XO and CO of Quonset squadron VXE-6 supporting Operation DeepFreeze in Antarctica. Dana became the first manager of the Quonset Industrial Park after the Naval Air Station closed in 1974.


Major David L. Nuttall, US Army, Retired (1948-

Army helicopter pilot, Vietnam; Master Army Aviator. Raised in Smithfield, he attended Mt. Pleasant High School before enlisting. As a maintenance test pilot and aviation instructor in both the RI and NJ National Guard, he accrued about 7500 hours military flight time. Under a Textron contract, he was a helicopter instructor in Iran. Nuttall flew another 2500 hours in civilian assignments—medevac, forest firefighting and oil rig support.


Major Eric 'Ric’ Sawyer, US Army, Retired (1945-2021)

Army helicopter pilot, Vietnam, earning Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and 31 Air Medals. Born and raised in Providence he attended Moses Brown and graduated from Hope High School. He put in 27 years of military flying, including stints in both the CT and RI National Guard. He also flew helicopters for radio stations, corporate entities and the Connecticut State Police. A long-time South Kingstown resident before moving to CT, Sawyer’s last flying job was pipeline patrol for El Paso Energy. During his 45-year flying career, he amassed more than 40,000 flight hours.


Horace A. Scott (1926-2020)

Scott left East Providence high School to join the Navy when he turned 17. He flew from Guam as an enlisted engineer and aerial gunner aboard PBY patrol planes. After working as a civilian mechanic at NAS Quonset, Scott learned to fly on his own to qualify for the Eastern Airlines flight engineer position. A 30 year career followed as first officer and captain, during which he flew the Constellation, DC-9, B-727 and L-1011. Scott accrued more than 30,000 hours flight time. He lived in Cumberland and North Kingstown.


Dewey Turilli (1923- )

On February 23, 2023 former Army Air Forces radio operator Turilli celebrated his 100th birthday. After graduating from Providence’s Central High School in 1942, he was drafted in 1943. Turilli was on Tinian and Iwo Jima in 1945 with the 457th Fighter Squadron. A talented woodcarver, he took over the family furniture business, and has been very involved with the Providence Vet Center Art Program in recent years.


President’s Award


2/LT George Merlyn Power O’Keefe, Royal Flying Corps (1898-1954) O’Keefe is the President’s Award recipient, given to a Rhode Islander involved with aviation who made his primary mark in another field. His entrepreneurship in the automotive industry, combined with his active political career, are the bases for this award. O’Keefe was a Royal Flying Corps reconnaissance and observation pilot during World War I, one of the founders of the Aero Club of RI, and an early proponent of aviation in RI. He was the Office of Price Administration automotive manager for RI during WWII.



Galkin Award


Captain Charles Frederick Pratte, Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces (1915-1945)

His badly damaged B-24 had no brakes as Pratte made a forced landing on a too-short airstrip. He ordered his men to attach parachutes to gun mounts, and deployed them as he touched down. The drag stopped them a few yards short of the ocean. This award, first given in 2017, is named after Warren and the late Robert Galkin, and is given to an individual whose contribution to aviation includes an advancement of the field though technology, design, implementation, exploration, bold initiative or risk-taking.