Recognizing the Naval Air Station, Pensacola Headquarters as the W.L. Richardson Building 1500by Representative Jeff Miller
Posted on 2014-01-15
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to commemorate the
life of Walter Leroy ``Dick'' Richardson and recognize the Naval Air
Station, Pensacola Headquarters as the W.L. Richardson Building 1500.
Walter Leroy Richardson was born August 21, 1889 in Princeton Depot, Massachusetts and was later married to Ethel Wilkerson. He enlisted as a Ship's Cook (4th class) in the U.S. Navy on November 1, 1911, where he served on the USS Mississippi. Having developed a passion for photography in his youth, Richardson was able to continue his hobby of photography on the USS Mississippi while it was anchored in Pensacola. During the Navy's first few weeks of aviation-related activities in Pensacola in 1914, Richardson often captured aviation activities on film, and the Navy recognized that his photographs were a valuable tool for training and documenting aircraft testing, accidents, and other activities. Before long, the Navy designated Richardson as the Navy's first official photographer. At the start of World War I, the Navy used photography for aerial reconnaissance, and Richardson was soon commissioned and charged with organizing the first Naval School of Photography.
Richardson is now known as the ``Father of Naval Photography and Naval Aerial Photographers.'' He served as photographer aboard the USS Birmingham during the Mexican Intervention in 1914, and he also invented the first handheld oblique camera for aerial photography. Pushing the limits of what a camera in the air could do, he even survived a crash aboard the first U.S. Navy zeppelin, the USS Shenandoah in 1922. He subsequently was honorably discharged from military service on January 1, 1926. Walter Leroy Richardson passed away on June 14, 1945 and is interred at Fort Lincoln Cemetery, Washington D.C.
Walter Leroy Richardson's pioneering spirit and dedication to his craft and country make it an honor to dedicate Naval Air Station Building 1500 in Pensacola, Florida to his proud legacy. Building 1500 was built by the U.S. Army in 1939 and was later turned into a Naval School of Photography. The school was later renamed the Defense Photography School and relocated to Fort Meade, Maryland. Building 1500 was selected for renovation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2010 and then designated as headquarters for Naval Air Station, Pensacola.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of a grateful Nation, I stand here today to commend Walter Leroy ``Dick'' Richardson, his lasting impact on the United States Armed Forces, and the recognition of his legacy through the dedication of Building 1500 as the W.L. Richardson Building 1500 on board Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.