Camp Ranger Houston McCoy

Camp Sol Mayer


On Thursday, August 9, 2007, the City of Austin presented the "Distinguished Service Award" to 14 participants who were key players in bringing down Charles Whitman on the University of Texas Tower on August 1, 1966.  One of those recipients was Houston McCoy, who is credited with bringing an end to the shooting by killing the former Marine sharpshooter that left 17 people dead and 31 wounded. 

After a couple of years, following the shooting, Houston McCoy resigned from the Austin Police Department and became a flight instructor in Del Rio.  On January 1, 1975, Houston McCoy went on the payroll of the Concho Valley Council as the Camp Ranger for Camp Sol Mayer. He worked for the Council for 12 years, until March, 1987.

Pictured in the photo to your left are Jack Moore, former Scout Executive, Ruth McCoy, McCoy's ex-wife, Monika McCoy, his daughter, and Frank Hilton, former Program Director and Camp Director for Camp Sol Mayer, who were present for the presentation of the "Distinguish Service Award" to Houston McCoy in the Council Chambers of the City of Austin. Monika McCoy had recommended to the Austin City Council that they present the awards, some 41 years after the event.

On August 2, 2008, Travis County named one of their buildings the "Tower Heroes Building" in honor of the heroes of the UT Tower tragedy.  The ceremony was held at the offices for Travis County Precinct 3 on Texas 71 West in Oak Hill, some 12 miles from the UT Tower.  Their names, including Houston McCoy, are on a plaque outside the building.

Honorary Membership 
Austin Police Association

A plaque and pin, representing Honorary Membership in the Austin Police Association, were bestowed upon Houston McCoy, was given to him by the Austin Police Association President Sgt. Wayne Vincent. A plaque and pin were given to each of the first responders to the tragedy at the University of Texas during the Austin Police Association's 60th Anniversary Celebration party on May 7, 2009.  The event was held in the Elk's Lodge with many past and present police officers present.  Pictured to the left are Sgt. Wayne Vincent and Houston McCoy.


For Additional Stories Click Below

Houston McCoy's Own Story
APD Dispatch Record
Houston McCoy's Supplementary Offense Report
 Waco Tribune Herald Story
 Newspaper Story by Jack Keever
 Letter by Jim Echols
San Angelo Standard-Times. August 1, 1986
 Chief Bob Miles

Houston McCoy as a Patrolman with the Austin
Police Department about September 1966.  The airplane behind McCoy is the one Jim Boutwell, with Lt. Lee, flew over the UT Tower and got hit with sniper fire.  The picture was taken in early September 1966. 

Distinguish Service Award being presented to Houston McCoy by the
Mayor of Austin, Will Wynn, in a special ceremony to recognize the
14 key players in bringing down Charles Whitman on the University
of Texas Tower on August 1, 1966.

Houston McCoy working in old workshop.

Picture taken in front of UT Tower in 1986

Story in Menard News in December 1974
Houston McCoy and his plane at Menard Airport.  This was the plane he flew when aerial photo was taken of Camp Sol Mayer. 
Houston McCoy in about 1978

Houston McCoy in about 1978

Photo taken in 1977 or 78 in front of Menard Cabin
with dining hall in background.

Cleaning up at the swimming pool in 1986.

Houston McCoy with catfish caught in the
San Saba River in May 1976.

Houston McCoy getting the finishing touches to the campsite latrine with Frank Hilton in May 1978.
Houston McCoy's passion is flying gliders.  Here he is shown with two of them being worked on in the dining hall at Camp Sol Mayer in 1986 during the winter. 

After leaving Camp Sol Mayer, McCoy flew crop dusters for a couple of seasons.

High Water Spills Into Menard
Menard News and Messenger, Thursday, September 19, 1974, page 1
Excerpt from a longer front page story.

"Most of the county's low-water bridge areas and draws were covered in water and many were impassable.  Carl A. Martin, Sr., had gone down to one of the draws near the creek at his ranch southwest of Menard and in trying to turn his pickup around, he plunged into the flooded ravine.  Mark Lively, who was near the scene, dived into the water which covered the pickup and rescued Mr. Martin.  Because of the flood road crossings, Houston McCoy piloted Dr. Carvalho out to the Martin ranch, bringing Martin to the Menard Hospital for treatment.  The small airplane would accommodate only one passenger, therefore McCoy brought Martin to the Menard County Airport where an ambulance was waiting to take Martin to the hospital.  McCoy then flew back to the Martin ranch for Dr. Carvalho.  Mr. Martin was admitted to the hospital for near drowning, but was responding to treatment on Wednesday." 

We want to thank Ruth and Houston McCoy, Menard, TX, and Monika McCoy for providing us with these photos.

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