Duane E. Woerth

Thursday, November 1st, 2001

Captain Duane E. Woerth,
president of the Air Line Pilots
Association, International, is the
recipient of the CCRKBA Gun
Rights Defender of the Month
Award for November.
“When the suicidal terrorists
struck on that day with the use of
knives and box cutters,” said John
Michael Snyder, CCRKBA public
affairs director, “they demonstrated
for all who have eyes to
see and ears to hear that innocent
people without guns are unable
to defend themselves against
those bent upon perpetrating
such heinous crimes. Most people
of common sense realized, upon
hearing of the terrorism, that lawabiding
citizens armed with firearms
conceivably could have prevented
the tragedy.
“It was in this context,” Snyder
continued, “that Woerth voiced
the sentiments of the men and
women who pilot the airplanes
that, if they so desire and meet
certain criteria, they ought to be
armed for their own protection
and the protection of their passengers.
In doing so, Woerth put
the Pilots Association on record
as realizing the protective aspects
of policies that allow the carrying
of firearms. Even though Woerth
is not necessarily part of the progun
movement in the United
States, the position he took and
the time in which he took it demonstrate
the underlying veracity
of our message. He really does
deserve this recognition.”
Woerth testified in September
before the Subcommittee on
Aviation of the Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure
of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He told the panel that pilots
in his organization overwhelmingly
support the idea that they
should have the option of flying
armed. Within hours of the Sept.
11 attacks, and upon learning
that the terrorists had been
armed only with knives and box
cutters, CCRKBA publicly called
for the training and arming of
commercial airline pilots.
“There is much discussion ongoing
today about the feasibility
of arming pilots,” Woerth noted
in his testimony. “The events of
last week demonstrated that lethal
force could be used to advantage.
We have given this matter
serious discussion and we believe
that there could be potential for
making this possibility a reality.”
He further stated that background
checks on security personnel
needs to be improved.
“After meeting that goal, a thorough
study should be given to a
program where airline pilots who
meet strict qualifications could
voluntarily be trained as sworn
federal law enforcement officers
with arrest authority and allowed
to carry weapons in the cockpit to
protect themselves and their passengers,”
Woerth stated.
Capt. Woerth, a Northwest Airlines
pilot with extensive experience
in the field of international
aviation, is the seventh president
of ALPA. He was unanimously
elected by the Association‟s Board
of Directors in October 1998, and
assumed office Jan. 1, 1999. Before
assuming office as ALPA
President, Woerth served for
eight years as the Association‟s
first vice president, its second
highest-ranking officer.
Capt. Woerth has served as USALPA‟
s Director for the International
Federation of Air Line Pilots
Associations (IFALPA) and
previously served as Chairman of
IFALPA‟s Industrial Committee.
He also has served for five years
as a member of the Northwest
Airlines Board of Directors under
the Northwest employee stock
option plan.
He has flown at Northwest for
19 years and at Braniff Airlines
for five years. He was involved in
ALPA activities at both carriers,
and served as chairman of the
Northwest Master Executive
Council, and as ALPA‟s executive
vice president.
He served in the U.S. Air Force
for six years and retired with the
rank of lieutenant colonel from
the Air National Guard. He accumulated
over 20 years of active
and reserve duty, primarily with
the Strategic Air Command.
A native of Scribner, Nebraska,
Capt. Woerth, 52, received his
B.S. degree from the University of
Nebraska and his M.A. fro