Garland W. Pack (1912-1986)

Garland W. Pack (1912-1986)

Inducted: November 5, 2016

Garland Pack was born in Dickson, Tennessee November 26, 1912. He was educated in Dickson public schools and graduated from Dickson Central High School as an honor student in 1931. His father wanted him to go to college or to auto mechanics school but he dreamt of becoming an aviator. He earned his pilot and mechanic licenses at an airport in Muncie, Indiana where he slept in a hangar, paid $3.00 a week for meals at a local farmhouse and traded work for flight lessons… seven days of work for a half-hour flight. His extraordinary aptitude allowed him to solo in just four and one-half hours. Both his pilot and mechanics licenses were signed by Orville Wright.

Garland Pack meticulously restored his first airplane while still in his 20’s. It was a badly damaged Waco Nine and he rebuilt both the airframe and engine. It took many hours of crafting parts of wood and metal. Afterward, his barnstorming around Dickson County helped make residents of Middle Tennessee much more aware of aviation.

Pack served during World War II as a flight instructor and flew for the Air Transport Command. He flew 16 trips across the Atlantic, later serving in the China-Burma-India Theater where he flew “The Hump” into China 56 times and earned The Distinguished Flying Cross. Flights over the Himalayas were extremely dangerous. He said, “If you couldn’t see the wreckage of several airplanes on a clear day, you were flying off course”.

He returned home after the war and designed and built five midget racing airplanes that only weighed about 500 pounds a piece but could reach airspeeds of nearly 200 mph. He flew commercial charter for Capitol Airways and in 1961 he established a sailplane operation at Murfreesboro AIrport. After later moving it to Lewisburg he finally settled it down at Puckett Field near Eagleville.

The Dickson County Municipal Airport is named “Pack Field” to honor this aviation pioneer.