Steponas Darius

Steponas Darius

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Steponas Darius

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Steponas Darius (known as Stephen Darius in the USA; born Steponas Darašius; January 8, 1896 in Rubiškė, now Klaipėda district of Lithuania – July 17, 1933 near Soldin, Germany) was a Lithuanian-American pilot.

Born in Rubiškė, in the Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire, Darašius emigrated to the USA with his family in 1907. In 1917 he joined the United States Army, after the United States entered World War I, and changed his name to Darius. He served as a telephone operator in the 149th field artillery regiment, fought in France, was wounded and received the Purple Heart medal. In 1920 he returned to Lithuania and joined the Lithuanian army, graduating from military school in 1921. He helped to organize the Klaipėda Revolt of 1923. While living in Lithuania he completed pilot training. In 1927 he returned to the USA and started working in civil aviation. He initially formed South Bend Airways in partnership with Carl G. Jordan of South Bend, Indiana. Their fleet consisted of a Pheasant H-10 and a Longwing Eaglerock, both powered by OX-5 engines of WW1 vintage. He lived for a while in the Jordan household prior to moving to Chicago.

While living in Lithuania he actively promoted various sports. He initiated building of first stadium in Kaunas; it was later was named after him - the S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium. He played basketball, baseball, ice hockey, and practiced boxing and athletics. Since he was the first to publish booklets about basketball...
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