Hinckley Graduate Enshrined in Aviation Hall of Fame

Brigadier General Floyd “Duffy” Evans.

The Historical Society is in the process of gathering stories about residents and the experiences and impacts they have made in their lives. The following information was shared by Dorothy Myers; and Aleata, David, and Russel Evans who are relatives of Floyd Evans.

When high school graduates depart, they are often told many will move on and their class prophecies won’t accurately predict their futures. That prediction was certainly true for a Hinckley graduate in 1912 who came to our attention recently when his relatives visited the museum and shared memories about their great uncle Floyd “Duffy” Evans. This son of local farmers John and Mary Evans was born in 1893 and matured quickly following his father’s death in 1902.

According to articles in the Hinckley Review newspaper, Floyd left the area after graduation to pursue a dream of flying and serving in the emerging U.S. aerial corps. As a student at the University of Illinois, Floyd enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and was accepted into the Cadet Squadron A, Unit 1. He received his first plane ride in August 1917 from an instructor who had been flying since 1907.

When the U.S. entered World War I, Floyd was stationed in France and made many flights over German positions. On one such low-level flight, he was struck by ground fire which incapacitated his foot but he was able to land his plane safely while demonstrating “courage and coolness.”

For his efforts, Captain Floyd received the French Croix de Guerre Award from the Commander in Chief of the French Armies (shown above).

Following the war, Evans lived in Ohio and stayed in the reserves until being named commander of the 107th National Guard Observation Squadron in Michigan. While on a training flight in 1928, Major Evans had to parachute from his plane when a wing broke off during maneuvers.

Evans was named Director of the Michigan State Board of Aeronautics in 1930, a post he held for 28 years. Besides enforcing air regulations, Evans initiated many of Michigan’s Aeronautics Commission programs, advanced aerial tourism, and gained a national reputation for laying out the first statewide airport program in the nation. He served during WWII by working with the Free French to pave the way for an American invasion of Africa in 1942. In 1958 he was again called up for duty during the Korean Conflict, making it the third military action he experienced.

He was promoted to Brigadier General (Retired) in 1960. Floyd Evans died from a stroke in 1966 and was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 1998 for his long exemplary service and distinguished military aviation career.

By Bob Pritchard

Bob serves as President of the Hinckley Historical Society and is a board member of the DeKalb County History Center. He lives on a farm in DeKalb County that has been in the family since 1849 and which he continues to operate with his son.