Civil War general namesake for Dayton airfield part of ‘Fighting McCooks’

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which traces its origins to the former McCook Field, an Army flight test and engineering center between 1917-1927. Wright-Patt and city of Dayton leaders will mark the centennial of the former airstrip Thursday.

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The field bears the name of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Alexander M. McCook, a West Point graduate. He was once a part owner of the property the airfield arose, according to Wright-Patterson. He died in Dayton in 1903.

The Ohio native was a Union general in the Civil War against the Confederacy in the South — where his soldiers both won and lost bloody battles and suffered major losses — and he fought in battles with American Indian tribes in the West, historical narratives show.

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In October 1863, a Union Army commander pulled McCook from command after his forces were soundly defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga. McCook requested a Court of inquiry where was found innocent of any wrong doing, but was prevented from returning to a battlefield command, according to the Ohio History Connection. He continued to serve for decades as a lieutenant colonel.

He was one of 15 men from the McCook family – known as the “Fighting McCooks,” the Ohio History Connection said.

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