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June 8, 2013

Road name will honor WWII flying ace

— The road to Johnstown’s airport soon will honor the community’s most well-known aviation hero.

A bill dedicating part of Airport Road in Richland and Conemaugh townships as the Lt. Col. B.D. “Buzz” Wagner Memorial Highway is poised to become law.

Senate Bill 679, sponsored by state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, passed the House of Representatives unanimously earlier this week and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett, Wozniak announced in a press release.

“I am very pleased that this highway designation was quickly approved by the Legislature and will be signed into law by the governor today,” Wozniak said. “Not only was Lt. Col. Wagner a Cambria County and Pennsylvania hero, he was a United States hero and is much deserving of this tribute.”

Wagner was one of America’s first World War II heroes. He is credited with shooting down eight Japanese planes.

It was said of Wagner that he could buzz the camouflage off a hangar roof, a skill that earned him his nickname.

Wagner died on Nov. 29, 1942, when his P-40K crashed on a routine flight from Eglin Field, in the Florida panhandle, to Maxwell Field in Alabama.

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