Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

July 21, 2008

MICHAEL GREGG, 78

Sounded early alarm on AIDS

Dr. Michael B. Gregg, an epidemiologist and former editor of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a federal medical bulletin that published early warnings of the impending AIDS crisis in 1981, died July 9 in Brattleboro, Vt.

The cause of death was congestive heart failure, said a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where Dr. Gregg served in supervisory roles for three decades.

From 1967 to 1988, he was editor of the Weekly Report, a source of statistics and medical data about disease outbreaks since the 1870s. During Dr. Gregg's tenure, the report, which is published by the CDC, advanced the "editorial note," a brief commentary that is intended to provide doctors and public health officials with greater context about instances of smallpox, salmonella, polio and other potential epidemics.

Dr. Gregg also vigorously opposed a policy - then prevalent at some medical journals - by which articles would be rejected if they had first been published in another journal. Gregg argued, with some success, that the public's right to know outweighed any individual journal's need for pre-eminence in print, and that the Weekly Report was a useful platform from which to inform a broad audience.

In June 1981, the Weekly Report published a brief account of pneumocystis pneumonia combined with Kaposi's sarcoma, a relatively rare skin cancer, that had appeared in five gay men living near Los Angeles.

It was a "memorable event, because it was an intense discussion about whether or not this was just a statistical quirk," said Dr. Richard A. Goodman, an epidemiologist at the centers.

Dr. Goodman, who succeeded Dr. Gregg as editor, said the article was among the earliest accounts in the United States of the presence of AIDS, which became an epidemic infecting about 1 million Americans by 2006. The Weekly Report subsequently published several articles on AIDS and its treatment in the 1980s and '90s.

ROBERT M. DEHAVEN, 86

World War II fighter ace

Robert M. DeHaven, a World War II fighter ace who downed 14 enemy planes in the Pacific and later became a test pilot and executive with Hughes Aircraft, died July 10 at a hospital near his home in the suburban San Fernando Valley, northwest of downtown, after a long illness.

Mr. DeHaven attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia until he joined the Army Air Corps in early 1942.

In 1943, he was assigned to the 49th Fighter Group of the 7th Fighter Squadron at Dobodura, New Guinea. According to the Seattle-based American Fighter Aces Association, on Dec. 10, 1943, Mr. DeHaven shot down 10 Japanese aircraft in offensives over Buna, Lae, Markham Valley, Hollandia and Biak islands and officially became an ace, the term used in military aviation circles to designate a pilot who destroys or disables several enemy planes during combat.

During seven days beginning in late October 1944, Mr. DeHaven downed four enemy planes in the Philippines, bringing his total to 14.

He received several medals, including the Silver Star, which was awarded after he saved a fellow pilot whose plane was surrounded by Japanese fighters.

After the war, Mr. DeHaven was spotted by a talent agent and signed a contract with Columbia Pictures. He made minor appearances in three movies before giving up on acting. He met Howard Hughes, who offered Mr. DeHaven a job as his personal pilot and as a test pilot for his aircraft company. Mr. DeHaven later rose to director of the flight test division. He retired in the 1980s.

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