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Honoring a distinguished aviator

CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Military Museum is honoring one of Minnesota's most distinguished aviators, Maj. Gen. Pat Halloran in the featured Veteran of the Month Exhibit for June.

CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Military Museum is honoring one of Minnesota's most distinguished aviators, Maj. Gen. Pat Halloran in the featured Veteran of the Month Exhibit for June.

Halloran was born and raised in Chatfield and, after graduating from high school, attended the MacPhail Conservatory of Music in Minneapolis. He entered the Air Force in 1949 as an aviation cadet and received his wings and officer's commission in September of 1950.

He spent his first seven years flying F-84 jet fighters from bases in Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, England, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Japan. He also flew 100 combat missions in the F-84 over North Korea in 1952.

In 1956, he was selected in the first group of pilots to fly the new, secret U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force. The U-2 flew at altitudes of over 70,000 feet and carried enough fuel for 10 hours of flight. He was then selected for the cadre of the new Mach 3 SR-71 aircraft that he flew for almost eight years. The SR-71 is the fastest, highest flying jet aircraft in the world, cruising at over 2,000 mph at over 85,000 feet and with a range of over 3,000 miles. He accumulated nearly 600 hours in the SR-71.

He flew missions over Cuba in the U-2 and over Vietnam in both the U-2 and the SR-71. His next eight years were spent in command and staff positions in various headquarters, including 3rd Air Division in Guam, 15th Air Force in California, and Strategic Air Command in Nebraska. His final assignment was in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Pentagon. He retired in 1983 with over 8,000 hours of flying time in the military and 34 years of service. He has over 12,000 hours of total flying time. He was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006.

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He lives in Colorado Springs, and is actively involved in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

The public is invited to view the entire exhibit on Halloran at the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley. The Museum is the only museum in the state representing Minnesotans in all branches of service from frontier days to the present. The museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including all holidays.

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