CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Charleston Air National Guard Base will officially be renamed after Brig. Gen. James Kemp McLaughlin, who helped found the West Virginia Air National Guard.
The name change was announced earlier this week, and a press conference was held Wednesday.
The change will formally take effect during a ceremony on Saturday that will be attended by McLaughlin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Adj. Gen. James Hoyer.
The base is home to the 130th Airlift Wing.
"We felt it was more than appropriate to memorialize the service of General McLaughlin," Hoyer said.
McLaughlin was born in Braxton County and grew up in Charleston. Though he's 95 years old, he didn't skip a beat as he spoke to reporters from a podium Wednesday.
McLaughlin said it is "a great honor" to have the base named after him, especially because the recognition "came from an organization I think highly of."
"I look back and realize just how important the National Guard has been from the beginning (of the U.S.)," he said. "It doesn't get the praise and press it should get at times."
He joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 and flew B-17 bombers during World War II, including in Norway, Germany and the Battle of the Bulge. He flew 39 bombing missions during the war and received a Distinguished Flying Cross and three subsequent Oak Leaf clusters.
On at least two of the missions, the B-17s he piloted were severely damaged, which he said was "one of the toughest times of my life." He said he thanked the Lord when he landed safely.