May 23, 2014

Manchin Bill Honoring Elite Fighter Pilots to be Signed by President

American Fighter Aces will be honored for their distinguished achievements and heroic military service by receiving Congressional Gold Medal

Washington, D.C. – Two months after the American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal Act passed the Senate by unanimous consent, U.S. Senator Manchin (D-W.Va.) today proudly announced that he will be in attendance at the White House while President Barack Obama signs his bill into law. Senator Manchin along with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) were the lead sponsors of the bill.

The law will collectively award a Congressional Gold Medal to all American Fighter Aces, who are among the most distinguished and decorated groups in our country’s military history. These elite pilots are only credited if they have destroyed five or more confirmed enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

“These outstanding military pilots have bravely risked their lives again and again to defend the freedoms we enjoy every day,” Senator Manchin said. “They are among the best of the best. It is a privilege to publicly thank some of our country’s most courageous and devoted aviators for their heroic military service by celebrating the Fighter Ace tradition and awarding them with the Congressional Gold Medal. I am especially honored to join all West Virginians in recognizing a truly remarkable West Virginian native and Fighter Ace, General Chuck Yeager. His valor and bravery know no bounds.”

American Fighter Aces have led distinguished careers in the military as well as in civilian professions, including in education and training, private enterprise and politics. Many have held the rank of General or Admiral and have played leadership roles in multiple war efforts, from World War I and II, Korea and Vietnam to our country’s current military missions.

Of the more than 60,000 United States military fighter pilots who have taken to the skies since World War I, less than 1,500 have been honored as a Fighter Ace, including 15 West Virginians. Today, there are only about 100 Fighter Aces still living, including West Virginia native General Chuck Yeager.