Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1983 Induction
In 1941, Second Lieutenant (later Major, USAR) Marion J. Fortner volunteered to participate in the field tests of the light aircraft for use with the field artillery as an Air Observation Post. The findings of that group led to the approval of organic air sections in all artillery battalions.
"Jake" Fortner was trained in the L-4 Piper Cub in the famous "Class before Class One". He later assisted in establishing the initial maintenance programs for pilots and mechanics and left active duty as a Major in 1945.
In 1955, he returned to Army Aviation as a civilian aeronautical engineer and advisor to the U.S. Army Aviation Test Board at Ft. Rucker, AL, where he served with distinction until his accidental death in 1970. "Jake" played an extremely prominent role at the Test Board, serving as a reservoir of knowledge and experience through the whole spectrum of aircraft and accessories acquired or tested by the Army.
Throughout his aviation career, he was highly regarded and respected for his administrative and technical effectiveness but he will also be remembered for the warm personality and inherent charm which he consistently brought to the workplace.
His contribution to mutual understanding and cooperation between the Board and the decision makers in industry and the Army Staff were unique.