Wings Over the Rockies to salute American Fighter Aces at Annual Gala

The Last of the Best American Fighter Aces To Be Honored By Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum ~

Denver, CO – The American Fighter Ace is a special, endangered breed of warrior seldom found outside of history novels and lore. Over the course of history more than 60,000 brave Americans have earned the right to be called fighter pilots and of those, less than 1,500 (2.5%) achieved the status of Ace*. Sadly there are less than 70 of them living among us today.

On Saturday, November 5th at 6:00 PM, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum will commend these American heroes at the annual Spreading Wings Gala. Traveling from ten states, fifteen honorees represent incredible feats of bravery which have earned each a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award that Congress can bestow upon a civilian.

“Having the opportunity to host America’s most revered military pilots is a true honor for our Museum,” explained Wings Over the Rockies President, Mark Hyatt. “These elite gentlemen possess skill, fortitude and courage few others can match and epitomize what it means to put country before self.”

“It’s the most exclusive club, or association, in the world,” said Gala honoree, Col. Richard Candelaria. “You can’t buy your way in. You can’t influence your way in. You can’t talk your way in. There’s only one way in: aerial combat.”

The evening will culminate in a ceremonial unveiling of “Lest We Forget: The Mission” a series of bronze sculptures by World War II aviator Major Fredric Arnold, USAAC (Ret.). This exhibit honors, preserves and promotes the heritage of American combat pilots.

To view the full list of honorees, or to purchase Gala tickets, please visit

About Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum:
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is Colorado’s Official Air & Space Museum. Founded in 1994 and housed at the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Wings is dedicated to inspiring, educating and entertaining the public about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future. Visitors will find over 50 aircraft on display, thrilling flight simulator experiences and a learning center dedicated to the expansion of aerospace education in Colorado.

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