Member, Ambassador Emeritus, Founder of Estrella Warbirds Museum
Gary Corippo is a lifelong resident of Paso Robles, having graduated from Paso Robles High School in 1957. He then attended and graduated from Coalinga College (now West Hills College) with an AA degree. In 1959, he joined the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve, rose to the rank of Master Sergeant and retired in 1979. Half of the time, he spent as an 0369 (infantry/anti-tank), attended parachute training at Fort Benning with Third Force Recon, took training to be a crew chief (CH-53 helo) and finished as a line chief with the HMH-769, Forth Marine Aircraft Wing at Naval Air Station, Alameda.
Gary worked for San Luis Tank and Pipe Co. for 29 years. His work took him to many places throughout the United States and to multiple countries in Central and South America. Gary retired as the Vice President of the company.
Gary has been a pilot for 38 years and holds a private license and an LOA (Letter of Authority) for T-28B . You used to always find Gary flying his privately owned plane, a 1941 Vultee BT-13 Trainer, which was on exhibit at the EWM. He has over 8000 hours as pilot in command. He is also part of the Gooney Corporation, which have their C-47 on loan to the museum.
It was Gary Corippo, back on January, 1990, along with Glen Thomson, (two guys with two airplanes that said, "Hey! Let's build an aviation museum in Paso Robles...") and originally started the group that was known as the Estrella Squadron of the Confederate Air Force. In January, 2000, the group had grown tremendously and was incorporated in the state of California as the Estrella Warbird Museum., Inc..
It has been said many times over the years, "Nobody worked harder at the museum then that Gary Corippo!" Of course, that's true. Gary has always remained dedicated to the preservation of aircraft and the museum. He spent countless hours on the upkeep of the museum aircraft, facilities and grounds. He also had a great talent for acquiring many of the aircraft on display for the museum.
The Museum will always be forever grateful to Gary for his vision for the future, his dedication and desire to see the Estrella Warbirds Museum succeed. Little did he realize how grand of a scheme he actually had in his mind, that it would someday become a reality in the North County and grow to a size he never imagined. Over the years, the museum has been visited by thousands upon thousands of people, from all walks of life, from countries he never imagined would visit, and it would play guest host to a cadre of world famous individuals that came to Paso Robles to share their aviation or racing history with the local residents. Even more-so, he was many times over, the cause for an incredible amount of individuals to begin a love for aviation or instill within them a unique understanding of history they never had before.