Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame 2020 Inductee:
MAJOR GENERAL (Retired) EUGENE R. ANDREOTTI - 1943
October 1, 2019
Major General Gene Andreotti was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He took his first airplane ride in 1952 in a J-3 Cub at Holman Field with aviation pioneer Al Brandt. He received his Private License from Ward Holiday at the Lake Elmo Airport. Other ratings followed, including Commercial, Multi Engine and Instrument. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. He worked briefly for North Central Airlines and later for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Joining the Minnesota Air National Guard, Andreotti was commissioned after graduation from pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. In 1971, he began flying the C-97 Stratofreighter aircraft. He took correspondence courses from the Air Force Air Command and Staff College, the Air War College and classes in National Security. He was an air technician and held many positions, including Chief Safety and Maintenance Group Commander for the 133rd Airlift Wing (AW). Andreotti later transitioned to the C-130 Hercules aircraft and would eventually log over 5,000 hours of flight time.
In 1988, Governor Rudy Perpich appointed him Minnesota Adjutant General (AG); the first and only Air National Guard member to be appointed to that position. As the AG, Andreotti commanded over 13,000 Army and Air Guard personnel, including two flying units: the 133 AW at Minneapolis and the 148th Fighter Wing at Duluth. He facilitated the replacement of the F-4 Phantoms with the newer, state of the art F-16 Fighting Falcon at Duluth. He spearheaded the effort to obtain more advanced and modern helicopters for the Army National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade at St. Paul as well as a helicopter maintenance base at St. Cloud. He worked to modernize and improve the base infrastructures at Minneapolis and Duluth. Andreotti was instrumental in keeping the Minnesota Guard bases operational after they were listed for closure during the Congressional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act of 2005. He went on to lobby for funding newer aircraft and facilities to keep the Guard up-to-date with their global mission. In the 1980's Andreotti was instrumental in creating the Self-Contained Navigation System (SCNS) and getting it installed in all C-130 aircraft, for comprehensive global navigation and guidance.
As Adjutant General, Andreotti advocated for and installed at Minneapolis and Duluth, the Starbase Minnesota education program. It has come to serve over 50,000 inner city students; teaching them technology and aeronautics through the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program. In 1989, Andreotti was also appointed the National Guard's family Program Manager to establish a 1-week youth camp at Camp Ripley for the dependents of Guard members. Later, a teen camp was also established at Camp Ripley. The program functions as an educational tool to assist young people to understand and deal with the stress and confusion due to the separation from their loved ones that are deployed.
Note: The end date for nominations for the 2021 Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame induction is November 30th. The guidance for nomination is located at our website http://www.mnaviationhalloffame.org/nominations.html