Here’s another chapter in “Sanford Links.”

I like to think that every interesting person, thing or event has a connection to Sanford, Fla.

Like the game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where you attempt to connect the actor Kevin Bacon to any other actor or movie in six links or less, Sanford Links will connect our great city with important events, interesting people and exceptional things.

For example, do you know the connection between Donald Trump and the city of Sanford?

Link #1 – Billionaire businessman and pontificating presidential candidate Donald Trump recently caused a stir when he said Sen. John McCain was not a war hero.

CLICK TO ENLARGE.  Vice Admiral John McCain Sr., left, presents the Navy Cross to Lt. Richard Fowler. The original caption from this U.S.  Navy photo read: For extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron FIFTEEN, attached to the USS Exxex, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle for Leyte Gulf,on October 25, 1944. Undaunted by intense antiaircraft fire, Lieutenant (then LTJG) Fowler carried out an attack against major hostile fleet units, scoring a direct bomb hit on a Japanese battleship, and contributing to the success of the mission. By his skill as an airman, and devotion to duty throughout, Lt. Fowler upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
CLICK TO ENLARGE. Vice Admiral John McCain Sr., left, presents the Navy Cross to Lt. Richard Fowler. The original caption from this U.S. Navy photo read: For extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron FIFTEEN, attached to the USS Exxex, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle for Leyte Gulf,on October 25, 1944. Undaunted by intense antiaircraft fire, Lieutenant (then LTJG) Fowler carried out an attack against major hostile fleet units, scoring a direct bomb hit on a Japanese battleship, and contributing to the success of the mission. By his skill as an airman, and devotion to duty throughout, Lt. Fowler upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Link #2 – John McCain’s father, John McCain Sr., was the Vice Admiral and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air during World War II when he presented The Navy Cross to Lieutenant Richard Fowler.

Link #3Richard Fowler went on to become an admiral and the commander at the Sanford Naval Air Station in the 1960s, when the base was at its most active. 

During  his 32-year career in the U.S. Navy, Fowler was a decorated aviator during World War II and Korea. In addition to the Navy Cross, Fowler received a Silver Star, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses and nine air medals. Fowler was certified as an ace fighter pilot for scoring 6.5 confirmed kills during aerial battles.

He retired from the Navy in 1974 and settled with his family in Sanford, in a house on Silver Lake near the decommissioned navy base an growing Sanford airport.

Fowler’s retirement was as active and successful as his time in the Navy. He owned a chain of Dollar Rent-A-Car franchises and taught corporate finance at the University of Central Florida.

Admiral Richard Fowler
Admiral Richard Fowler

He was a member of the friends of the St. John’s, a crew chief for Habitat for Humanity in Seminole County and served on the board of the Sanford Zoological Society.

He died in 2001.

If you have ideas or recommendations for a Sanford links story please contact me at BokeyNews@gmail.com.

– by Dan Ping

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