courtesy of Bill Daniels Estate
Robert W. "Bill" Daniels was an American patriot, a pioneer in cable television, and an outstanding philanthropist.
In World War II, Daniels piloted a Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter during the Allied invasion of North Africa in 1942, and he flew in the Solomon Islands area in the Pacific the following year. Daniels also served with distinction in Escort Fighting Squadron Twenty-Six, attached to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Sangamon.
In 1953, Daniels established his first cable television network at Casper, Wyoming. He went on to own and operate hundreds of cable systems in almost every state. Daniels had been an undefeated Golden Gloves Boxing Champion before the war and became one of the first cable television entrepreneurs to focus on sports programming. He also served as president of the American Basketball Association and owned or shared ownership of several professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bill Daniels was a selfless humanitarian who made countless charitable contributions. He established the Young Americans Bank, the world's only bank chartered exclusively to teach basic financial skills to youths and young adults. He also endowed the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver to promote ethics in business . Upon his death, his estate transferred to the Daniels Fund, making it the largest charitable foundation in the Rocky Mountains region.
Exhibit case displaying Robert William Daniels' flying helmet and goggles, Bronze Star Medal and Air Medal.
Smithsonian Institution photograph #2006-1758 by Eric Long. Do not use without written permission.
Flying Helmet and Goggles
Bill Daniels wore this helmet and goggles while flying aircraft in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Bronze Star Medal
Bill Daniels earned this medal for rescuing shipmates trapped aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid after two Japanese pilots dove their aircraft into the ship on November 25, 1944.
On three occasions, the U.S. Navy awarded Bill Daniels the Air Medal for his airmanship, courage, and devotion to duty during World War II. After the first Air Medal, Navy officials customarily presented gold stars to signify each additional award.
All artifacts courtesy of the Daniels Fund
Smithsonian Institution Photo
2005-4698, Eric Long
Climb up to primary flight control, or
Pri-Fly, as it is called. Through its windows you can see and hear a variety of aircraft
swooping in over the fantail to an arrested landing below. From the bridge (where catapult
operations on the bow can be observed) you go down the ladder, cross the hangar deck and
the quarterdeck, and you are back on dry land.