The International Order of Characters

A Brief History


The International Order of Characters is an aviation-oriented educational foundation which traces it’s roots to the grim early days of World War Two in the South Pacific.
It was there that a young USAAF flight surgeon, Captain James E. Crane, came up with the idea of organizing a group of battle- weary American and Allied pilots under his care into a fraternal order to be called the International Order of Characters. Each of the members, upon induction, received a private nickname known only to the other members of the Order. By 1943, call-signs such as “The Sky”, “Spanish John”, “Little Isadore”, “Harry The Horse”, “Society Max” were being heard in the sky over Guadalcanal and the neighboring islands. The “IOC”, which competed with another legendary organization, the “Guadalcanal Rod and Gun Club”, grew to nearly one thousand members before the war moved on towards Japan, and Major Crane was reassigned to military hospitals in the United States.

Following the end of the war, Dr. Crane became an FAA Flight Examiner and General Practitioner in Stamford, Connecticut. In the early 1950’s, Dr. Crane, alias “The Brain”, was persuaded by many of the original members, some still in uniform, others now senior test pilots and airline captains, to reactivate the International Order of Characters. As the reborn IOC grew, it became an endowed educational foundation which donated well over $250,000 in scholarships and grants to the children of deceased or infirm pilots as well as to former members of the armed forces studying for a degree in aviation-related fields of research.
The IOC normally hosts an Aviation Symposium in the spring and a fall meeting literally anywhere in the world. The profits from nominal annual membership fees and meetings are used to build the scholarship fund.

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