- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stanley P. Butchart, 85, research pilot

LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — Stanley P. Butchart, a former top research pilot for NASA and its predecessor agency, died Oct. 1 of natural causes. He was 85.

In 1951, Mr. Butchart joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ High Speed Flight Research Station, which later became NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base.

He flew numerous research and mission-support aircraft in his 25-year career, becoming the center’s principal multiengine aircraft pilot during a period of air launches of early X-planes, NASA said.

Mr. Butchart received the NACA Exceptional Service Medal for actions to save his aircraft and crew when an X-1A rocket plane exploded while attached to the B-29 launch aircraft he was flying on Aug. 8, 1955.

In 1966, he became chief pilot and then director of flight operations at Dryden. He retired in 1976.

Mr. Butchart was trained to fly as a civilian and then joined the Navy in 1942. In World War II he flew TBM Avenger torpedo bombers in the South Pacific, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross, among other medals.

After the war, he earned bachelor’s degrees in aeronautical and mechanical engineering at the University of Washington and worked as a design engineer for Boeing Aircraft before joining NACA.

Al Chang, 85, combat photographer

HONOLULU (AP) — Al Chang, a celebrated combat photographer who was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, died Sept. 30. He was 85.

He recently was diagnosed with leukemia, said his wife, Jacqueline.

Mr. Chang was a dock worker during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor who became a combat photographer, both as a journalist and a soldier. Colleagues remembered him with two Nikon cameras hanging from his neck and a cigar in his mouth.

He shot photos of the Japanese surrender on the battleship USS Missouri in 1945.

After a career as a military photographer in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, where he was wounded three times, he shot photos during the Vietnam War for National Geographic and the Associated Press. He later returned to the Army, shooting photos in Vietnam for the 25th Division and other units.

His familiar photos included an Aug. 28, 1950, photo of Army Sgt. Bill Redifer comforting fellow soldier Vincent Nozzolillo, which was included in the book “Family of Man” by Edward Steichen, published in 1955.

Harry Lee, 75, Louisiana sheriff

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Harry Lee, the seven-term suburban New Orleans sheriff whose blunt talk sometimes led to sour relations with black leaders, died Oct., 1, several months after announcing he had leukemia. He was 75.

Sheriff Lee reported in June that the cancer was in remission, but it returned in August. Even so, he signed up to run for re-election as sheriff of Jefferson Parish in the Oct. 20 election.

Even in a state with a long history of brash and colorful politicians, Sheriff Lee cut an uncommon figure: a rotund, white-haired Chinese-American with a penchant for Western wear and a love of country music.

It was his clashes with black leaders as sheriff of the mostly white New Orleans suburb that often made news during his nearly three decades in office.

The most recent such disagreement arose after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region on Aug. 29, 2005. Sheriff Lee’s agency faced an upsurge in crime, blamed largely on the illegal drug business that had been dislodged from neighboring New Orleans.

Sheriff Lee prompted outrage by suggesting his deputies could randomly question young black men in high-crime areas. He later abandoned the plan, but made no apologies for it.

In 1987, he was blamed by many for putting up temporary barricades between mostly black New Orleans and mostly white Jefferson Parish. The barricades actually were ordered up by the Jefferson Parish Council, according to news reports. However, Sheriff Lee was quoted as saying at the time that the controversy might help his re-election bid that year.

Ralph Sturges, 88, Mohegan tribal chief

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — Ralph Sturges, chief of the Mohegans who helped shepherd his eastern Connecticut tribe through federal recognition and the development of its successful casino, died of lung cancer Sept. 30 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in New London. He was 88.

The Mohegans earned federal recognition in 1994, two years after Chief Sturges was elected chief for life. Their Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, one of the largest in the world, opened in 1996.

“We will miss his leadership, and his passing leaves a void not easily filled in our tribal government,” said Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe.

Chief Sturges traced his Mohegan ancestry to his mother’s family. Before becoming chief, he was a payroll delivery man for an armored-car company and a disaster relief coordinator and public relations director for the Salvation Army.

During World War II, he served in the Army’s intelligence division in New Guinea and the Philippines, earning a Bronze Star, the tribe said.

Chief Sturges also was a sculptor. His works can be found at the State Capitol, New London City Hall, Montville High School and the cornerstone of Mohegan Sun, the tribe said.

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