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Hometown names bridge after longtime Atherton resident Joe Cotton

Joe Cotton flew in Army Air Corp in WWII and then became test pilot

A bridge in Rushville, Indiana, has been named after native son and longtime Atherton resident, Joe Cotton, who died last year at the age of 94.

The Joseph Cotton Bridge over the Flatrock River was dedicated July Fourth, with a contingent of relatives and local residents on hand.

Mr. Cotton was born in Rushville and attended the local high school before enlisting in the Army Air Corp at the age of 20, in 1942.

Before even finishing flight training, Mr. Cotton and many of his classmates were sent off to help crew American bombers.

In his first combat mission, in November 1943, the plane he was co-piloting crash landed on the island of Corfu after being hit by anti-aircraft fire. After four months the crew members were able to escape with the help of Italian allies, and Mr. Cotton was sent back to the U.S. to recover from malaria and return to flight school.

He became a test pilot, and eventually was the chief test pilot for the Air Force before becoming an engineering flight test pilot for United Airlines in San Francisco.

The resolution says that among the awards and recognition received by Mr. Cotton are the 1966 Pilot of the Year from the International Order of Characters, a Legion of Merit, an Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.

Mr. Cotton's children, Chris Cotton of Atherton, Connie Jo Cotton of Palo Alto and Candy Kayne Cotton Farbstein of San Mateo, plan to visit Rushville to see the Joseph Cotton Bridge in September. Their mother, Rema Cotton, died in December.

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