Mattson Field dedicated to first jet ace, a native of Stevens Point
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Airport has a new sign and a newly-dedicated field, which was unveiled on Friday.
Now called the “Stevens Point Municipal Airport/ Mattson Field”, the airport has been renamed to honor the Wisconsin’s first jet ace- a designation given to a military aviator with a high number of aerial victories- Conrad “Connie” Mattson.
The city council approved the renaming in January, though none of the council members attended the dedication ceremony on Dec. 11.
Mayor Mike Wiza, Airport Manager Jason Draheim and Mattson’s niece, Carole Cassidy were on hand with some members of the same National Guard unit as Mattson.
Draheim said he couldn’t stress how unique the opportunity was.
“He was a local individual, a local hero and is a national hero…’firsts’ in aviation are a great source of pride for the flying and non-flying community alike,” Draheim said in a January memo to city leaders. “We are extremely fortunate to have the privilege of claiming such an influential pilot as one of our own.”
Cassidy said she’s been working on getting the designation since 2009, when columnist George Rogers penned a story in the Portage County Gazette suggesting the field be named for another war pilot.
“But he wasn’t an ace- my uncle was,” Cassidy said. “So I wrote a letter to the Gazette saying if it was going to be named after anybody, it should be him.”
Six years and several council meetings later, Mattson’s picture now graces the lobby of the airport, with his namesake on the entrance sign to the city’s airport.
“Now that this is over, I need a new project,” said Cassidy, laughing. “But this is really great for the family, that he’s remembered like this.”
Draheim said the sign will be outfitted with nighttime lighting as soon as the city can bring in an electrical contractor.