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Goodspeed '92 Talks Naval Aviation History

Washington and Lee alumnus Hill Goodspeed, of the Class of 1992, was featured in an interview on WALA-TV (FOX10TV) for Pensacola, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., earlier this month. Hill, curator and historian at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, talked about the museum’s 50th anniversary, which it is observing this year.

Hill started visiting the museum in the 1970s, when he spent time with his grandparents in Pensacola. During the summer before his senior year at W&L, he did an internship at the museum. He began work there full time in 1994. It is the world’s largest such museum, containing restored aircraft, an IMAX theater, cockpit trainers and artifacts such as equipment and clothing.

His connection with military history runs deep: Hill’s grandfather trained at NAS Pensacola as a naval aviator during World War II, his father was a Vietnam War-era Marine officer, and a great uncle served as a PT-boat skipper in the South Pacific during World War II.

Describing the artifacts at the museum, Hill told FOXTV 10: “Almost every month I’ve worked here, there’s something that comes in that’s just fascinating. Recently, we received telegrams of a photographer’s mate on one of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions to the Antarctic. All the telegrams that he sent from the Antarctic up here to Pensacola, that was their only form of communication, just these cryptic, very short little messages going back and forth.”

Hill serves as an adjunct professor for the Naval War College Distance Education Program, lecturing in strategy and policy. He’s also the author or editor of five books, including “U.S. Navy: A Complete History” and “Skylines: American Cities Yesterday and Today,” and has contributed to two others. He also has provided historical commentary for programs on PBS, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

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