Known for: A U.S. Army aviation pioneer, Maj. Hezekiah McClellan died while testing a Consolidated PB-2A aircraft, which went into a spin and crashed near Centerville, Ohio. On Dec. 1, 1939, the War Department renamed the Sacramento Air Depot as McClellan Field in his honor.
Background: Born in Hall, Ill., McClellan attended Butler University in Indianapolis. In 1917, he enlisted in the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps and went to the University of California, Berkeley, to study military aeronautics. By 1934, McClellan had become one of the Army Air Corps' top pilots. The following year, he made the first landing of a military aircraft above the Arctic Circle at Point Barrow, Alaska. The Army promoted McClellan to major in September 1935.
A highlight: During a 38-day trip to Nome and Point Barrow, Alaska, in 1935, McClellan gathered information about the area from people living there, took many aerial and ground photographs and compiled charts and records about the Arctic that helped pilots who later flew there.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.