Curt Watson Inducted Into Hall of Fame

More than 500 aviation aficionados are scheduled to attend the 14th Annual Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame Gala and Inductions Ceremony this coming Saturday evening, Nov. 7, at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Murfreesboro.

The event will celebrate and enshrine four extraordinary individuals who have made enduring contributions to aviation and aerospace.

Capt. Curt Watson, who earned renown as “The Crossville Comet” while a football star at UT and as a Navy pilot, became a member of the elite “Blue Angels.” He founded the Memphis Air Show and recently retired as a 28-year FedEx pilot.

Other inductees include Mr. Bill Barton, a former airline captain and beloved flight instructor of Morrison, TN, who has taught and mentored hundreds of students in Middle Tennessee. Murfreesboro resident, Astronaut “Hoot” Gibson recently added to his long list of accolades a gold medal earned at The Reno Air Races in Nevada. Posthumous inductee, Dr. Joseph White of Brentwood was a fighter pilot with the famous Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

Since its Inaugural Inductions ceremony in 2002, the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame has enshrined 53 men and women who have contributed to aviation history through achievement or service in Tennessee, for our nation or the world.

The TAHF is a non-profit charitable institution and Tennessee’s Official Aviation Hall of Fame and Repository and Archive for Aviation History. Profits from the institution’s fund raising efforts are used to identify, document and preserve Tennessee’s aviation history and to sponsor and support aviation education statewide.

Curt Watson Founded the Memphis Mid South Air Show and the event has donated over $1,600,000 to children’s charities in Memphis. As a late 1960s and early 1970s University of Tennessee football star, Curt Watson, a/k/a “The Crossville Comet” still ranks fourth among Tennessee’s all-time rushing leaders. He ended his career with a school-record 2,364 yards on 529 rushes, twenty-two touchdowns, and a 5.4 yards-per-carry average. Afterwards he moved on to two years in the NFL. Watson then joined the Navy and spent eleven years as a Navy pilot including a four-year stint with prestigious Blue Angels. He is now a pilot for Federal Express. Watson has remained active in the world of sports, serving on the Liberty Bowl Selection Committee and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.


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