Lifetime Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement Awards

AFA's Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes not a single achievement, but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.

 2017 Recipients:

Gen Ronald Fogleman, USAF (Ret.)

Gen Fogleman served as the 15th Chief of Staff of the Air Force. A command pilot and parachutist, with an extensive background in fighters, mobility aircraft, and general aviation, he has amassed more than 8,400 flying hours. He flew 315 combat mission and logged 806 hours of combat flying. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Orbital ATK, is the Lead Director on the Board of Directors for AAR Corp, and serves as a board member of First National Bank of Durango, Tactical Air Support, Inc., Theia and Unitech Aerospace.

Col Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson, USAF (Ret.)

Col Anderson is a World War II Triple Ace, and during the war he was the highest scoring Ace in his P-51 Mustang Squadron. He flew two tours of combat against the Luftwaffe in Europe while with the 363d Fighter Squadron, and was the group’s third leading ace with 16 ¼ aerial victories. His P-51 Mustang, nicknamed Old Crow, carried him safely through 116 missions without being hit. After the war, Anderson became a well-regarded fighter test pilot, a fighter squadron and wing commander, and chief of the fighter flight test section at Wright-Patterson. 

Elinor Otto

Elinor Otto is one of the original Rosie the Riveters, and worked to build airplanes for 50 years. She began work at Rohr Aircraft Corp. during World War II, manufacturing airplane parts, and has worked at Ryan Aeronautical, Douglas Aircraft Company, and the Boeing Company. She has been a Spirit of ’45 Day National Spokeswoman since 2011, helping to promote awareness of the role women played during World War II. Earlier this year she and US Representation Alan Lowenthal planted the first official “Rosie the Riveter Rose Bush” In Long Beach, the first of what will become a national network of living memorials to the women who served on the Home Front during World War II. 

Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Foundation

The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Foundation manages the memorial and crypt, maintains grounds, as well as organizing ceremonies and guided tours. The Foundation’s Board oversees the management of the site, and is composed of the US Ambassador to France, the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, the French Minister of Dense and the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force. The Foundation’s endeavors have helped to commemorate America’s pioneering combat airmen for many years to come.

2016 Recipients:

Richard “Dick” Myers, General, USAF (Ret.)

 General Richard B. Myers was the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has commanded at all levels and served in significant staff positions  throughout the Air Force. He holds the Colin L. Powell Chair for National Security, Leadership, Character, and Ethics at the National Defense University. As of April, he was selected as the Interim President of Kansas State University.



Chuck Horner, General, USAF (Ret.)



General Charles A. Horner was Commander in Chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command, US Space Command, and Commander of Air Force Space Command. General Horner was a command pilot with more than 5,300 flying hours in a variety of fighter aircraft. He currently serves on the board of directions for the US Institute of Peace.

James Keck, Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret.)


General James Keck’s career spanned across World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and in diverse functional areas including multiple command and staff positions, inspector general, comptroller, operations, intelligence, personnel, plans, and materiel. Gen Keck’s determined efforts ensured peerless support to Airmen and their families. General Keck’s involvement with AFA began immediately after WWII, in their formative years. With more than 37 years in Active Duty and 40 years of devotion to the Air Force Association, he exemplifies a lifetime of contributions to AFA

Claude Bolton, General, USAF (Ret.)



Major General Claude M. Bolton Jr. was commander, Air Force Security Assistance Center, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. He managed foreign military sales programs with totals exceeding $60 billion that support more than 80 foreign countries. was a command pilot with more than 2,700 flying hours in more than 30 different aircraft. During his tour at the Pentagon, he was the F-16 program element monitor and also saw duty in the Office of Special Programs.



John Correll

John Correll served 20 years in USAF, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. In 1971-1972, he had an Education with Industry (Air Force Institute of Technology program) tour with Air Force Magazine.During that tour, he developed and proposed the format of the annual Almanac issue as it has existed from the 1980s to today. He later worked for the Air Force Magazine from August 1982 to April 2002. His byline has appeared in Air Force Magazine, either for an editorial or for an article and in most issues for the past 35 years.





2015 Recipients:

Michael V. Hayden, General, USAF (Ret.)


Gen Michael V. Hayden served nearly 40 years in the Air Force. He also served as the director of the CIA and NSA, and chief of the Central Security Service. Hayden is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs. His memoir, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, is due out in early 2016.


R. A. "Bob" Hoover

R. A. “Bob” Hoover has thrilled millions of men, women, and children over the last five decades with aerobatic flying maneuvers in his yellow P-51 Mustang. In addition, he has flown over 300 types of aircraft and flight tested or flown nearly every type of fighter aircraft. Furthermore, he is a WWII combat veteran. He is also the holder of several aviation records. Hoover was enshrinedin the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988. The 2014 documentary “Flying the Feathered Edge” honors Hoover’s aviation achievements and contributions.

Gene Kranz 

Eugene F. “Gene” Kranz has dedicated more than 55 years of his life to serving his nation. From USAF fighter pilot and flight test engineer to a multitude of leadership roles with NASA for projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, and the Skylab and space shuttle programs, Kranz’s work has impacted countless lives and advancements. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Nixon for the Apollo 13 mission, and was designated a distinguished member of the Senior Executive Service by President Reagan. In October, Kranz will be enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.


2014 Recipients:

Jim McDivitt, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.)

James A. McDivitt flew 145 combat mission for the USAF during the Korean War. Later in his career he served as an experimental test pilot, and then was selected to become an astronaut in 1962. McDivitt spent 14d 02h 56m in space. Later, he was the program manager for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. McDivitt retired from the USAF and left NASA in June 1972, at the rank of Brigadier General. In 2014, General McDivitt was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Civil Air Patrol “Our Congressional Gold Medal Journey”

During the war, more than 200,000 Americans volunteered and served in CAP. As the auxiliary force of the Army Air Forces, by war’s end CAP had flown more than 750,000 hours with a total loss of 65 members and 150 aircraft – a credit to the organization’s emphasis on organization and safety. Additionally, more than 80,000 young Americans had served in CAP.

The American Fighter Aces

An American Fighter Ace is a fighter pilot who has served honorably in a United States military service and who has destroyed 5 or more confirmed enemy aircraft in aerial combat during a war or conflict in which American armed forces have participated. The American Fighter Aces did more than score victories in the skies; they also scored points in the hearts of the American people. They were pilots who flew for freedom under the flag of the United States and its Allies. Aces were men of sound judgment, persistence, drive and heroism. Aces date back to the first instances of aerial combat, and subsequently bred the next generation of fighter pilots. As Aces rotated back to the United States, they frequently became instructors. Highly skilled pilots made for shorter wars and more lives spared. Of more than 60,000 U.S. military fighter pilots, less than 1,500 have become Fighter Aces. They are one of the most decorated groups in military history. Continuing to inspire future generations, the American Fighter Aces Association has existed for more than 50 years as the primary organization with which the Aces have preserved their history and told their stories to the American public.

2013 Recipients:


Joe H. Engle, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret)

During his career, General Engle flew more than 185 different types of aircraft, including 25 different fighters, and logged more than 14,700 hours of flight time. By the time he retired from active duty in the Air Force and as an astronaut in November 1985, then-Colonel Engle had accumulated 224 hours in space and held the unique distinction of being the only person to have flown two entirely different winged space vehicles -- the X-15 and the space shuttle.

Congressman Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson, a decorated war hero and native Texan, ranks among the few members of Congress to fight in combat. During his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Representative Johnson flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Sam was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards. He endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement. Following his distinguished military career, Sam established a home-building business in North Dallas and served in the Texas State Legislature.

The Arlington Committee of the Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club
“The Arlington Ladies”

Since November of 1948, Air Force Arlington Ladies have attended more that 27,000 funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, fulfilling a mission established by Gladys Vandenberg who believed that no Airman should ever be buried without family members present. These volunteers are spouses of active duty or retired Air Force Officers and exemplify the special dedication the Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club has to our Air Force family.


2012 Recipients:

James P. McCarthy, Gen, USAF (Ret)

General James McCarthy served in the US Air Force for 39 years. From his ROTC commission to his final assignment as Deputy Commander in Chief for US European Command, he flew more than 6,000 hours in 28 different aircraft. General McCarthy now teaches Political Science at the Air Force Academy and is currently a member of the Defense Science Board. He chaired the Task Force on Lessons Learned in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Task Forces on Lessons Learned for Kosovo and Bosnia. He also chaired the study on transformation of the military for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Vietnam POWs

A major conflict that dominated the minds of Americans for more than two decades began with the arrival of troops in South Vietnam in 1961. As thousands and thousands of courageous men and women fought in the Vietnam War, the fate of many were left in limbo as they were captured by enemy forces. Many prisoners were subjected to unbelievably cruel treatment and prolonged physical and mental torture. Operation Homecoming began in February 1973. Each C-141 mission brought back 40 POWs, based on longest length of time in prison—with some having spent up to eight years as prisoners of war.

Berlin Airlift Aircrews

Sixty-five years ago, post war Germany was sectioned into four quadrants. The Soviet Union did not agree with the Western Allies plan to rebuild Germany, so the Soviet Union cut off electricity and supply routes. The United States and its allies were forced to become a lifeline to 2.5 million Berliners. With the US Air Force less than one year old, a full-scale airlift was begun. At the height of the operation, allies were landing in Berlin every three minutes. On April 17, 1948, USAF and its allies delivered a record 13,000 tons of cargo. USAF crews took off more than 89,000 times, totaling more than 600,000 hours of flight.

Korean War Airmen

In the first critical week of the Korean War, the US Air Force transported troops and equipment, provided significant intelligence through aerial reconnaissance, and helped to slow the North Korean advance. When, in 1950, the Soviet MiG-15 arrived, USAF moved quickly to counter with the F-86 Sabre, with most of the aerial warfare between them taking place in what became known as “MiG Alley.” In 1951, the Sabres numbered only 44, seeking battle against some 500 Chinese and North Korean aircraft. UN forces gained air superiority in the Korean theater after the initial months of the war and maintained it for the duration.

Fighter Pilots of WWII


While fighter aircraft were active in World War I, the fundamentals of modern air superiority are rooted in World War II. The pairing of operational requirements, doctrine, and new technology with the determination, bravery, and skill of Army Air Forces fighter pilots yielded the world’s first air arm capable of attaining large scale air superiority. Whether discussing the Combined Bombing Offensive, the island hopping campaign across the Pacific, Allied invasion of Normandy, or final defeat of the Axis Powers—none would have been possible without control of the sky. The fighter pilots of WWII fundamentally redefined warfare, and their legacy has afforded America an unparalleled advantage in all subsequent conflicts.


2011 Recipients:

Mrs. Natalie W. Crawford

Mrs. Natalie Crawford is a Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation and has been a director of Project AIR FORCE (PAF). It was her responsibility to ensure that the research agenda of PAF addressed problems of greatest enduring importance to the Air Force and that the research was of the highest possible quality and responsiveness. Mrs. Crawford is also a consummate and tireless mentor. She never misses an opportunity to infuse her analytic expertise and substantive knowledge of Air Force systems and organizations into the next generation of military operations research analysts.

             Thomas P. Stafford, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret)

Following his graduation with honors from the Naval Academy in 1952, General Thomas Stafford was commissioned in the Air Force where he flew F-86Ds and graduated from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School. In 1962, he was selected as an astronaut by NASA. He flew on Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and the Apollo-Soyuz flight. After retiring from the Air Force in 1979, his business career includes sitting on the Board of Directors of several corporations. He has been a defense advisor to Ronald Reagan and has served on the Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews.

             Larry D. Welch, Gen, USAF (Ret)

Including flying F-4C Phantom IIs over Vietnam and Laos, General Larry Welch has over 6,500 flying hours. He served as commander in chief, Strategic Air Command and was the 12th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. On the Rumsfeld Commission, he reported to Congress on the ballistic missile threat to the United States. He was asked by Robert Gates to lead the Defense Science Board advisory panel that would study the 2007 nuclear weapons incident as part of a larger review of procedures and policies for handling nuclear weapons. He then briefed the Senate Committee on Armed Services on the results of the review.

             Heavy Bombardment Crews of WWII

Prior to the Second World War, it was commonly held that wars were fought and won by troops on the ground and forces at sea. While many theorized that aerial strikes launched against strategic targets would cripple an opponent’s ability to fight, technological barriers in the aviation sector limited the practical application of such ideas. This changed during the Second World War. Aircraft like the B-17, B-24 and later the B-29 afforded sufficient range and payload to make long range strategic strike possible. Between 1941 and 1945, Army Air Force bomber crews flew over 100,000 missions – targeting production centers, logistics hubs and associated centers of gravity. These raids had a profound effect on the Axis powers – dramatically degrading their ability to fight and ultimately bringing a conclusion to the war with the dropping of the two atomic bombs. However, AAF crews paid a heavy toll for these achievements. Over 10,000 bombers were shot down and airmen suffered over 100,000 casualties. The contributions that the heavy bombardment crews made during WWII led directly to the formation of an independent Air Force in 1947 and critical concepts such as strategic deterrence.

The Commando Sabre Operation – Call Sign “MISTY”

In 1967, the US forces in Vietnam faced a major problem. Supplies were flowing at a prodigious rate from the North to Viet Cong forces in the South down the Ho Chi Minh trail. The Air Force utilized a fleet of propeller-driven forward air control (FAC) aircraft to help high-tech fighters spot targets, but overwhelming losses forced 7th Air Force leadership to curtail these FAC missions. Still requiring eyes in the sky, the Air Force tasked then-Major Bud Day to form a top secret squadron populated with combat-experienced fighter pilots, all of whom were volunteers, to fly the venerable F-100F in a “Fast FAC” capacity. Utilizing the call sign “Misty,” these individuals pioneered a new array of tactics to fly fast and low over enemy territory. The dedication to duty displayed by the Misty FACs is nothing short of legendary. Of the 157 pilots who flew Misty missions, 34 were shot down (two of them twice), three were captured, and 7 declared MIA. Despite overwhelming loss rates and constant danger, Misty crews got into their cockpits and carried out their assigned missions day after day. The tactics they developed serve as the corner stone for current FAC operations.

2010 Recipients:

General Lawrence A. Skantze, USAF (Ret)

General Lawrence Skantze is a retired United States Air Force four star general and was Deputy Chief of Staff for research, development and acquisition. He was appointed Vice Chief of Staff in 1983. His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster.

Walter J. Boyne, Col, USAF (Ret)

Walter J. Boyne is a former director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He retired from the Air Force with more than 5,000 hours in many aircraft, from a Piper Cub to a B-52. He has written fifty books and hundreds of articles on aviation subjects. He has participated in many television programs, including Wingspan, before it was purchased by the Discovery Channel. His many honors include being named to the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007.

WASP – Women Airforce Service Pilots

WASP were the first women in America’s history to fly American military aircraft. In less than 2 years, they flew 60 million miles in every type of aircraft in the Army Air Force arsenal and forever changed the role of women in aviation. Their accomplishments during the war reflected courage and determination. They became role models for today’s female pilots and astronauts.

Andrew Marshall

Mr. Andrew W. Marshall is the director of the United States Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment. Appointed to the position in 1973 by United States President Richard Nixon, Mr. Marshall has been re-appointed by every president that followed. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he joined the original “think tank”, the Rand Corporation, in 1949.


2009 Recipients:

The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

On April 18th 1942, seventy-nine USAF officers and enlisted men volunteered to bomb Tokyo in a mission that was designed and executed by Lt Col James H. Doolittle. Sixteen North American B-25B Mitchell bombers took off from the USS Hornet hours before their scheduled time due to being spotted by a Japanese trawler. Knowing they may not have enough fuel to reach their auxiliary fields in China, the order was given to “GO.” One by one the planes found and bombed their selected targets. Although no aircraft fell to the Japanese defenses, all but one plane miraculously made it into China. A few made crash landings but most crews abandoned their planes and parachuted into the blackness below. Three Raiders were lost on the bail outs; eight Raiders were captured, tortured and spent the rest of the war in solitary cells; three were executed, one died from malnutrition, and four were repatriated at wars end. The only aircraft that survived and landed this day flew to Russia when the crew realized they were running too low on fuel. The crew was interned, eventually escaped and returned to duty.

The Tuskegee Airman

The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America’s first African American military airmen. Each one possessed a strong personal desire to serve the United States of America at the best of his ability. Meeting all standards for pilots or any of the other career fields, the Tuskegee Airmen officers trained in operations, meteorology, intelligence, engineering, medicine and other officer fields. Enlisted members were trained to be aircraft and engine mechanics, armament specialists, radio repairmen, parachute riggers, control tower operators, policemen, administrative clerks and all of the other skills necessary to fully function as an Army Air Corps flying squadron or ground support unit. The positive experience, the outstanding record of accomplishment and the superb behavior of black airmen during World War II, and after, led the United States Air Force to become the first service to integrate racially. The subsequent integration by the entire military was an important factor in the initiation of the historic social change to achieve racial equality in America.

Dr. James Schlesinger

Dr. Schlesinger dedicated himself to strengthening our nation’s security. Over a span of almost four decades, he has served as the Director of Central Intelligence, Secretary of Defense and the first Secretary of Energy. He continues to provide his expertise on homeland security, energy policy, arms control and nuclear issues. Most recently, he chaired a panel that provided far-reaching recommendations to help the Air Force set a new course for re-invigorating its Nuclear Enterprise. His efforts have directly assisted the Air Force on a daily basis as it re-focuses attention on its nuclear mission, organization and culture.

2008 Recipients:

George Everett "Bud" Day,
Colonel, USAF, (Ret.)

George Everett "Bud" Day (born February 24, 1925) is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served during the Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations, the majority for actions in combat, including a Medal of Honor.

In 1942, he quit high school and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served thirty months in the North Pacific during World War II. A member of the Army Reserve in 1950, he received a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Iowa Air National Guard and was called to active duty in 1951 for undergraduate pilot training. He served two tours as a fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean War. Promoted to captain, he decided to make the Air Force a career and was augmented into the regular Air Force. Anticipating retirement in 1968 and now a major, Colonel Day volunteered for a tour in Vietnam and was assigned to the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa Air Base in April, 1967. At that time he had more than 5,000 flying hours, with 4,500 of them in fighters. In 1967, Colonel Day was flying in the F-100s, directing an air strike against a surface-to-air missile (SAM) site west of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. On his 65th mission, anti-aircraft fire crippled the aircraft, forcing the crew to eject. Colonel Day was captured by North Vietnamese, tortured and moved to several prison camps near Hanoi where he was periodically beaten, starved, and tortured. In December 1967, Colonel Day shared a cell with Navy Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, III. Colonel Day was released after five years and seven months as a North Vietnamese prisoner. On 4 March, 1976, President Gerald Ford awarded Colonel Day the Medal of Honor for his personal bravery while a captive in North Vietnam.

David Charles Jones,
General, USAF, (Ret.)

General David C. Jones was appointed to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense on June 21, 1978. In this capacity, he served as the senior military adviser to the President, the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to this appointment, General Jones served four years as Chief of Staff of the U. S. Air Force, responsible for administering, training and equipping a worldwide organization of men and women employing the world's most advanced defense systems. Concurrently, he was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In combat, the general was assigned to a bombardment squadron during the Korean War and accumulated more than 300 hours on missions over North Korea. In 1969, he served in the Republic of Vietnam as deputy commander for operations and then as vice commander of the Seventh Air Force.

His intimacy with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance and its complex multinational defense structure was based on a range of assignments that cover the spectrum of planning and operational responsibilities. Having served as inspector, operator, planner and Commander in Chief of United States Air Forces in Europe, he has dealt with every facet of the diversified missions of military forces committed to the defense of Europe. Concurrent with duty as Commander in Chief, USAFE, he was commander of the Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force and led the way toward establishing the integrated air headquarters in NATO's Central Region, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe.

Dr. Harold Brown,
Former Secretary of Defense

President Jimmy Carter nominated Dr. Brown to be Secretary of Defense on January 20, 1977. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate the same day, took the oath of office on January 21, 1977, and served as secretary of defense until January 20, 1981.

Born in New York City on September 19, 1927, Dr. Brown attended New York City public schools. He graduated from Columbia University with an A.B. degree in 1945, A.M. degree in 1946, and Ph.D. in physics in 1949. He has received 12 honorary degrees. Dr. Brown has lectured in physics at Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of California (1947–1952); was group leader, division leader, and later, director of the Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, University of California (1952–1961). He was a member of the Polaris Steering Committee (1956–1958), a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1956–1961), and consultant to, and then member of, the President’s Science Advisory Committee (1958–1961). He was senior science adviser at the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Tests (1958–1959) and a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks in Helsinki, Vienna, and Geneva, from 1969 to 1977. Previously, Dr. Brown served as Director of Defense Research and Engineering; Secretary of the Air Force, and President of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

Among his many honors, Dr. Brown was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the Fermi Award in 1993. He is the author of Thinking about National Security: Defense and Foreign Policy in a Dangerous World (1983) and editor of The Strategic Defense Initiative: Shield or Snare? (1987).

2007 Recipient:

Paul W. Airey
First Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Paul Wesley Airey was adviser to Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John P. McConnell on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force. He was the first chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned officer position and was selected from among 21 major air command nominees to become the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. He was formally installed by Gen. McConnell on April 3, 1967.

Chief Airey spent much of his 27-year career as a first sergeant. During World War II, however, he served as an aerial gunner on B-24 bombers, and is credited with 28 combat missions in Europe. After he was forced to bail out of his flak-damaged aircraft, he was captured and became a prisoner of war in Germany from July 1944 to May 1945. During the Korean conflict, he was awarded the Legion of Merit while assigned at Naha Air Base, Okinawa. The award, an uncommon decoration for an enlisted man, was earned for creating a means of constructing equipment from salvaged parts that improved corrosion control of sensitive radio and radar components.

2005 Recipients:

Patty Wagstaff
Aerobatic Aviator

Ms. Patty Wagstaff is known for flying one of the most thrilling, low level aerobatic routines in the world. Her breathtaking performances give spectators a front-row view of the precision and complexity of modern and unlimited aerobatics style that sets the standard for performers the world over.

At nine years of age, Patty moved to Japan with her father who was a captain for Japan Air Lines. Her cross-cultural academic career, which began in Japan, took her to Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia. In 1979, Patty moved to Alaska where she began her now-legendary career in aviation. Her first flying lesson was in a Cessna 185 floatplane. Later she earned her Commercial, Instrument, Seaplane and Commercial Helicopter Ratings. She is a Flight and Instrument Instructor and is rated and qualified to fly numerous airplanes from World War II warbirds to modern jets.

Ms. Wagstaff has won countless awards for her flying skills. A three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, and International Aerobatic Champion, Patty was the first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic Champion. She is a six-time recipient of the “First Lady of Aerobatics” Betty Skelton Award. Patty has won the gold, silver and bronze medals in national and international competitions. She has trained with the Russian Aerobatic Team and flown air shows and competitions around the world. In March, 1994, her airplane, the Goodrich Extra 260, went on display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Today, Ms. Wagstaff oversees Patty Wagstaff Air Shows in St. Augustine, Florida. During the off-season, she engages in such diverse projects as stunt flying and serving as a consultant to the movie and television industry. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Pilots Association and the United Stuntwomen’s Association. She has flown demonstration aircraft such as the T-6A Texan II. Recently she was in Africa providing recurrency and bush training to pilots in the Kenyan Wildlife Service.

Daniel K. Inouye
Medal of Honor Recipient and U.S. Senator

Senator Inouye is a World War II Combat veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest award for military valor. As a legislator he is the third most senior member of the U.S. Senate. He is well known and highly respected for his bipartisan approach and consensus building on the Hill.

First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Senator Inouye is now serving his eighth consecutive term. As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, he has focused on legislation to strengthen national security and enhance the quality of life for the military personnel and their families.

As Co-Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Inouye has addressed important issues including aviation and maritime transportation.

Senator Inouye was born and raised in Honolulu as the son of Japanese immigrants. Three months after celebrating his 17th birthday the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Using his medical training, he rushed into service as the head of a first-aid litter team. In March, 1943, while a freshman in pre-medical studies at the University of Hawaii, he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

In the fall of 1944, Senator Inouye’s unit spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing a Texas Battalion surrounded by German forces in the Frend Vosges Mountains. As the war was drawing to a close, Inouye displayed “extraordinary heroism” on April 21, 1945, near San Terenzo. Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken.

After losing his right arm, on May 27, 1947, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. He returned home highly decorated with a Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 additional medals and citations. His Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to Medal of Honor and Presented to him by the President of the United States on June 21, 2000.

William J. Perry
Former Secretary of Defense

An expert in U.S. foreign policy, national security and arms control, Dr. William J. Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University – a joint appointment at the Stanford Institute for International Studies and the School of Engineering.

Dr. Perry was the 19th Secretary of Defense, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as Deputy Secretary of Defense and as Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and is on the board of directors of several emerging high-tech companies. He is the chairman of Technology Partners.

From 1946 to 1947, Dr. Perry was enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers and served in the Army of Occupation of Japan. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corp in 1948 and was a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves from 1950 to 1955. His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Dr. Perry is a senior fellow and co-director of The Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Stanford University and Harvard University. Preventive Defense is a concept for American defense strategy in the post-Cold War era. It is premised on the belief that the absence of an imminent, major, traditional military threat to American security presents today’s leaders with an unaccustomed challenge and opportunity to prevent future Cold War-scale threats from emerging. While the U.S. defense establishment must continue to deter major regional conflicts and provide peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions, its highest priority is to contribute to forestalling developments that could directly threaten the survival and vital interests of American citizens.

To this end, the project focuses on forging productive security partnerships with Russia and its neighbors, engaging an emerging China, addressing the lethal legacy of Cold War weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and countering WMD proliferation and potential acts of catastrophic terrorism.

2004 Recipients:

Florene Miller Watson
Former WAFS/WASP Commanding Officer

A licensed pilot at age 19, Florene Miller Watson was one of the nation’s few women aviation instructors teaching men how to fly in the period leading up to World War II. She went on to become the first commanding officer of the Women Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS)/Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) at Love Field, Texas.

Watson volunteered for the WAFS on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She not only met the strict army pilot qualification requirements for women (which differed for men), but exceeded them. The initial cadre of women pilots averaged more than 1,100 flying hours (850 flying hours more than the men). She was one of only 25 women selected for the program.

Watson was a test pilot and ferried fighters and bombers across the country during the war. She piloted mostly combat aircraft such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the North American P-51 Mustang. She flew over 60 different aircraft types used by the Army Air Forces. Although the WASPs held officer status, they were classified as civilians. In 1977, after waiting 33 years, the women pilots of World War II were militarized and more than 1,000 WASPs were recognized with an honorable discharge as Armed Forces veterans.

A native of Odessa, Texas, Watson’s lifetime achievements are many. She was a graduate of Baylor University, a commercial pilot, a college professor of 30 years, and National Chaplain of the WASP organization. She is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding service, leadership and patriotism. Florene Miller Watson currently resides with her husband Chris in Borger, Texas, and continues to speak to audiences around the country on the topic of women in aviation in World War II.

Russell E. Dougherty
General, USAF (Ret.)

General Russell E. Dougherty was the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and director of strategic target planning (Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, from August 1, 1974 to July 1, 1977. An attorney, pilot, and airpower leader, he oversaw the most lethal nuclear arsenal in the world including bombers, tankers, reconnaissance aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles. “The issue is not war and peace, rather, how best to preserve our freedoms,” Dougherty once said.

Dougherty was born in Glasgow, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Law School of the University of Louisville. After working for the FBI and serving in the 123rd Cavalry, Kentucky National Guard, Dougherty entered active military service as an aviation cadet in the US Army Air Corps at the out break of World War II. In 1947, he served as a unit instructor with the Air Force Reserve at Standiford Field, Louisville, Kentucky. A judge advocate in the late 40s, he moved from the legal world to fly bombers and refuelers. His post-World War II assignments encompassed various duties in operational, maintenance, administrative, political/military and command duties in Air Force, joint, and international assignments. He retired a Command Pilot and Master Missileman.

A strategic thinker and planner and former Executive Director of the Air Force Association, Dougherty has served on various government and commercial defense-related boards. He holds numerous military awards and decorations, five honorary doctorate degrees, and is an “Old Master” of Purdue University. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife Barbara and remains active in aerospace issues.

2003 Recipients:


John R. Alison
Major General, USAF (Ret.)
Often called ”the All-American Airman,” Major General John R. Alison entered the United States Air Corps in 1936 and went on to carve a brilliant career in the military and industry. His talents as a pilot were recognized immediately, and later proven in combat in Japan, when he gained six victories flying with the famous 23rd Fighter Group, the successor organization to the immortal American Volunteer Group—the ”Flying Tigers.” Alison’s diplomatic skills were also recognized early in his career, when in 1941 he was sent to England to help pilots transition into the Curtiss P-40, of which he was a complete master. Alison distinguished himself so well he was chosen to go to the Soviet Union in 1941 to train Russian pilots in Lend-Lease Warhawks. In his post-war career, General Alison held key positions in government and industry, serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and President of the Air Force Association.

Honorable John H. Glenn, Jr.
Colonel, USMC (Ret.)
The career of Senator John Glenn has been one long series of ups, including two of the most famous ”ups” in history —he made the first US manned orbital mission on February 20, 1962, circling the earth three times in the Mercury-6 spacecraft, Friendship7; 36 years later he took flight again aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on a nine-day mission completing 139 Earth orbits. A combat and test-pilot, Glenn retired from the Marine Corps in 1965 and became a successful business executive. In 1974 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected four times. His commitment to education and involving youth in public and community service inspired the formation of The John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, a nonpartisan institute located at The Ohio State University. The institute encourages public service among citizens of all ages.

Jeanne M. Holm
Major General, USAF (Ret.)
The first woman to rise to the rank of general officer in the United States Air Force, Jeanne Holm has spent a lifetime inspiring others. She is a role model for the many women who admire her and an inspiration to all who served with her. General Holm played a significant role in eliminating restrictions on women serving in all ranks—expanding career and duty assignments, opening ROTC and service academies to women, and changing policies on the status of women in the armed forces. She is recognized as the single driving force in achieving parity for military women and making them a viable part of the mainstream military. General Holm retired in 1975 to pursue a rewarding career in civilian life, serving as a Special Assistant on Women for President Ford, and as a policy consultant for the Carter administration. She is the author of Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution.

Charles E. McGee
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Soft spoken but spellbinding, Colonel McGee is a veteran of three wars—World War II, Korea and Vietnam. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was one of the proud members of the Tuskegee Airmen, graduating with Class 43F on June 30, 1943. The ”Tuskegee Experiment” was designed to see if African-American pilots could perform satisfactorily in combat. The 332nd was a segregated unit, denied many of the rights ordinarily given to other U.S.A.A.F. units. Despite the differences, McGee and his colleagues were determined to succeed, and they did so with great honor. By the time of his retirement from the Air Force on January 31, 1973, he had earned many honors, including the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, and had 6,300 hours flying time in fighters. McGee went on to a successful and distinguished civil career that included becoming President of the Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated. A gifted speaker, he is in demand continuously for his inspirational talks.

Bernard A. Schriever
General, USAF (Ret.)
General Bernard A. ”Bernie” Schriever is one of the most important officers in the history of the United States Air Force. Born in Germany, General Schriever saw World War I Zeppelins departing on their course to bomb Great Britain, never dreaming that in four decades he would help create a force of ballistic missiles that would revolutionize not only warfare, but also space exploration. His long association with research and development led to an appointment to the pivotal position of commanding the Western Development Division, and being tasked with the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile. Schriever and his handpicked military and industrial team conceived, engineered, produced and deployed the Atlas, Thor, Titan and Minuteman ballistic missile systems. It was an incredible achievement that led directly to the mastery of space. After retiring from the Air Force in 1966, Schriever went on to a successful civilian career, spending much of his time on special commissions. He is the only man to have had the honor of having an Air Force base named for him while still living.