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Harry Moore Agerter landed once at Pitcairn Field on Tuesday, July 20, 1930, flying NS-15, a Ryan Brougham registered to the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce (DOC). Based at Washington, DC, he gave no indication of his destination or purpose of his visit at Willow Grove. Please refer to the C. Burton Cosgrove Collection at the link for a photo of NS-15 (scroll about 3/4 of the way down that page). NS-15 landed one other time at Pitcairn Field about two months earlier.
Agerter was born on July 5, 1891 in Lima, OH, the son of Fred B. and Ina Moore Agerter. After his father's death in 1896, he and his mother moved to Indianapolis to live with his grandfather Moore. Harry attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis and later attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, where he played football, and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The photograph, right is from his university time. Below is the description of him accompanying the photograph. He did return to school and graduated.
Following graduation from Miami U. in 1912, Agerter apprenticed with the Lima Locomotive Works. He then returned to Indianapolis, where he started several enterprises, including road paving, building construction and automobile sales and service. He partnered with another man in the sales and service of Detroit Electric cars (driving 80-200 miles on lead-acid batteries at 20MPH). He was also an avid race car driver and participated in many races in Indiana. Below, an exhibition notice for his line of cars that appeared in the Indianapolis (IN) Sunday Star, September 4, 1921.
He joined the army and completed aviation ground school training in Columbus, OH before being shipped to France where he won his wings as a Lieutenant in the Air Corps. Interestingly, on his way to France, he wrote a letter to his family which was published in the Shortridge High School Daily Echo, November 20, 1917. His letter described an attack on his transport ship by a German submarine as he neared the U.K. The submarine was chased away by a U.S. destroyer. We could not find any details on his life or flying activities through the 1920s after his service in WWI. If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW. He held the rank of Captain, Air Corps Reserve, until October 7, 1940.
After WWI he returned to Indianapolis and resumed his partnership in the Detroit Electric automobile agency. In 1929 he joined the Bureau of Air Commerce in Washington as an inspector, a post he held until 1934, when he returned to Indianapolis and joined the Calumet Abstract Co. as an executive. It was during his DOC career that we find him signed in the Pitcairn Field Register.
In 1937, the lure of aviation called him back to the Department of Commerce where he held the title of Assistant to the Director of Regional Offices for the Civil Aeronautics Authority, which included work as an accident investigator.
At some point in 1940 he again left government employment and joined the Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) in Riverdale, MD as the sales manager for the Ercoupe product line.
In 1941 Harry registered for service in WW2 at age 50 in the “Old Man’s” draft but he was not called to service and stayed with ERCO during the war. The photograph, left, was taken April 13, 1945 while he was in ERCO's employ.
Below is Agerter's draft registration card. Note that it was for, "Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897." Thus, the "old Man's" draft.
Harry Agerter was born Sunday, July 5, 1891. He died during, May 1963 at estimated age 71 years, 10 months. He is buried in Indianapolis. Agerter's grave marker is pictured at the link.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/01/15 REVISED: