Carson City pilot honored for helping refugees |

Carson City pilot honored for helping refugees

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Carson City pilot Curk C. Cave was honored by the International Brotherhood of Aviators last month for work he’d done to help Mozambique refugees escape during 1970s.

Curk is a fourth-generation Nevadan, born and raised in Elko, where he graduated from high school.

He attended the University of Nevada, Reno, before leaving the state to fly air carriers all over the world.

Curk is the son of general contractor W.W. Cave and Carson City real estate broker Roberta E. Cave, who died Aug. 24, 2001.

Before 1975, Mozambique was a Portuguese colony with a substantial European population. When the colonial government was overthrown, Curk flew thousands of refugees out to Lisbon in a former Pan American long-range Boeing 707.

“Most of them had never been out of the country,” he said. “We flew 10,000 people in a couple of months.”

Each time he flew the 16-hour route, he would head south from Lisbon to Angola and then fly across the continent to Mozambique.

“There were no relief pilots,” he said. “The people didn’t know we were an American crew.”

Curk has been flying airliners of one sort or another for 35 years. He flew in Laos during the latter part of Vietnam as a civilian pilot. His passport is filled with work visas from Egypt and other Middle Eastern and African countries.

“One time they told me a job would last 3 1/2 weeks and I didn’t get back to the states for three years.”

Curk has copies of two articles appearing in German newspapers with his picture in them.

“Nobody becomes a refugee because they want to be one,” he said.

n n n

Bill Stall, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing at the Los Angeles Times on Monday, worked for three years as The Associated Press correspondent in Reno.

Carson City AP writer Brendan Riley said Stall worked in Reno from February 1963 until September 1966, when he went to work in Sacramento.

“I was blown away by this guy,” Brendan said of Stall when they worked together in Sacramento.

Guy Farmer, who served in the AP capital bureau when Stall was in Reno, remembered him well.

“He was very detail-oriented,” Guy said. “He earned a reputation as an astute political commentator on California politics.”

Guy pointed out that Stall would be the second Nevada writer to win a Pulitzer for editorial writing. Warren Lerude is the other.

“Just goes to show you, all former Nevada AP guys go on to win Pulitzer’s, with a few notable exceptions.”

n n n

Wednesday afternoon, I watched the Easter Bunny climb out of a gold Chevrolet Trailblazer and hop off to the Carson Mall.

Some might ask what I had to drink for lunch, but I swear that anything I might have consumed was purely medicinal and that Jennifer Hollister was sitting right next to me when he walked by, so I have a witness.

n n n

Two Carson High School technology students will get to spend two days of their spring break visiting Great Basin Internet Services.

Sterling Hamilton and Matt Fiske will tour the Reno Internet provider after Web designer David Zybert spoke to their class, taught by Sherri Kelley.

Spring vacation for the high school begins this week.

Kurt Hildebrand is city editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at or 881-1215.