AEF Releases its 150th Eaglet!
Five Eaglets Set Free in 2016.
July 9th, 2016
This was a monumental summer for the AEF, as we released 5 more captive-hatched and translocated eaglets into the wild…with our last release of the summer marking our 150th eaglet set free into the wild from our Douglas Lake “Hack Tower” in East Tennessee!
“Spirit” (Patagial Tag F6) was released into the wild in honor of “Eagle Lady” Doris Mager.
This eaglet was blown out of a wild nest in Florida and was transferred to the AEF after rehabilitation.
“Invictus” (Patagial Tag L6) was released into the wild in honor of John Douglas Pricket, long time volunteer of the AEF and Vietnam Veteran.
This Eaglet was captive hatched at the Wildlife Sanctuary of NW Florida.
“Hope” (Patagial Tag H6) was released into the wild in remembrance of the 49 victims of the tragic Orlando Massacre that took place on June 12th, 2016. Family and friends of the victims were not able to attend the release, but the AEF sent a vidoe of the memorial to the Mayor of Orlando and we received this response:
This eaglet was captive-hatched and raised by non-releasable bald Eagle breeding pair “Honor” and “Braveheart” who are cared for by the American Eagle Foundation.
“Bailey” (Patagial Tag B6) was released into the wild in honor of Korean War Veteran Sgt. Bailey Keeto. Sgt Bailey went MIA in Korean War. This year, his remains were found and brought home nearly 60 years after his death. Bailey’s brother Ron and cousin Ron attended the release and named the eaglet.
This eaglet was also captive-hatched and raised by non-releasable bald Eagle breeding pair “Honor” and “Braveheart” who are cared for by the American Eagle Foundation.
“Survivor” (Patagial Tag PH6) was released in honor of honor of all U.S. Servicemen and Servicewoman who died during or survived the Pearl Harbor sneak attack that took place on Dec. 7, 1941 and killed more than 2,400 Americans.
This was the AEF’s 150th Bald Eaglet released into the wild from its Douglas Lake “hack tower” (artificial nesting tower) into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, and it is also the 75th Anniversary year of this Day of Infamy.
In attendance were three of the last living survivors of Pearl Harbor. The three of them collectively named the eaglet “Survivor.” A flag folding, “Amazing Grace,” the Star Spangled Banner, and a special patriotic performance by local celebrity singer/songwriter James Rogers made this remembrance ceremony special for these honored guests.
Private First Class (PFC) Clement Hauger, born on October 25th, 1921, enlisted in the 251st Coast Artillery of the California National Guard in June, 1941. On the day of the attack, he was close enough to observe the planes diving in on Pearl Harbor and to see the anti-aircraft guns firing back. A Japanese plane flew low enough to skim his barracks. While on patrol, he came across a downed Japanese fighter with two dead Japanese aboard. He had to guard the craft that night, armed with a shotgun. He served from 1941-1945. Among many awards, he has received the American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, & Bronze Star.
Lt. Col. James A. Seals, born on April 5, 1916, enlisted in the Marines in July 1940. Private First Class (PFC) Seals was stationed on the US Naval yard USS Pennsylvania in Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1941, Seals had just disembarked the Pennsylvania and walked about 200 yards when it was bombed by the Japanese. Seals spent two days identifying bodies and retrieving dog tags of the deceased. Seals served from 1940-1961. Seal has received numerous decorations including two Presidential Awards.
Tech Sgt. Durward Swanson, born on June 12th, 1921, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1939. On the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked, Swanson was on his way to bed when he was notified that the Japanese started the attack, hitting the base chow hall and killing more than 100 Airmen. He immediately went to the main gate to help out in security. He helped as much as he could, to include riding to the base baseball field to retrieve an Airman and facing dangerous encounters along the way. He helped set up base security and was one of the two Airmen who retrieved the American Flag on the main post that day. He served from 1939-1945 and was the President of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association from 2004-2006. He received the Distinguished Flying Medal and a Bronze star for his acts during World War II.
Two other WWII Veterans were present at the release. Private First Class Earnest Ray Kear, born in January 9th 1927, enlisted in the U.S Army in early 1944 and served in Unit C Company attached to the 3rd Armor Division of the 28th Regiment and served under general Patton in Germany. He served from 1944-1946. Chief Hospital Corpsman Frank Lowe, born December 17th, 1919 joined the Navy in 1939 and was assigned to Fleet Marine Corpsman School and landed in Guadalcanal in 1944. During the Korean War, he landed at Inchon and was at the Chosin Reservoir. He retired in 1969 after 30 years of service.
This eaglet was captive-hatched and raised by non-releasable bald Eagle breeding pair “Freedom” and “Faithful Spirit” who are cared for by the American Eagle Foundation.
Photo by John Douglas Prickett