SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Air National Guard base located on the east side of Salt Lake City International Airport will be renamed the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base November 18 in honor of retired Brig.Gen.Roland R. Wright, a combat pilot with a distinguished military career spanning more than three decades.
Wright, who will be in attendance at the ceremony, flew 200 combat hours in the P-51 Mustang with the 357th Fighter Group.
After his active-duty service, he was one of the first pilots to enlist in the 191st Fighter Squadron when the Utah Air National Guard was created in 1946.
A command pilot in multiple aircraft, he logged 7,800 flying hours during his military career, approximately 4,000 of which are in various types of fighter aircraft. As an Air Guard member, he served as a fighter-aircraft flight lead, squadron operations officer, squadron commander, and group commander, to include flying a number of missions to Vietnam. He also served as the first Chief of Staff for Air (Utah) from 1969 to 1976. In 1972, he was appointed to the Air Force Reserves Policy Committee, which included four meetings annually with the Secretary of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff and other leaders.
In his civilian career, he graduated from the University of Utah College of Law in 1958 and practiced in Salt Lake City until 1991. The general and members of his family still reside in Salt Lake City.
"Brig.Gen.Roland Wright is a great patriot who has served this country with distinction during times of war and peace," said Maj.Gen.Jefferson Burton, Utah adjutant general. "As a fighter pilot during World War II, he represented the best America had to offer demonstrating great skill and valor in the face of danger. Following the war, he was an aviation pioneer here in Utah providing tremendous leadership in the Utah Air National Guard for decades. To those of us in uniform, Roland Wright is truly a giant and it's only fitting that this air base where he so faithfully served our state and our nation be named in his honor."
The ceremony's November 18 date is significant as it represents the day in 1946 when the Utah Air National Guard and its 191st Fighter Squadron were established.
Over the past 60 years, members of the Utah Air National Guard have fought in every major conflict the United States has entered. Today, more than 1,400 Airmen continue to serve in a professional capacity at the base and via deployed locations around the globe.