The Earl T. Ricks Memorial Trophy Race

 A Forgotten Jet Age Championship 

Brig. Gen. Kennard R. Wiggins, Jr. (DE ANG Ret.)


This paper was written for the National Guard Education Foundation . It provides a brief history of the Earl T. Ricks Memorial Trophy Race, an Air Force Association sponsored cross country jet race by Air National Guard aircraft and crews. This paper discusses the first ten formative years of the competition within the context of the growth of the nascent post-Korean War Air National Guard. The event began in 1954 as a simple jet race for the best time over distance.  It gravitated from a race to an aerial competition, involving ground controllers, maintenance and photo interpretation teams reflecting the greater complexity of the mission. The competitive rules became more sophisticated with each year as the Air National Guard itself became more capable. The event was a mirror of the ANG leadership priorities and the advancing professionalism of the ANG. It was a key factor in winning public support and active component confidence in the Air National Guard.

Fun Fact: Delaware's Lt Col David McCallister was the winner of the 1956 race flying an F-86 Sabre.


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Kennard Wiggins

Writer and Artist

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