This year’s Wings Over the Rockies annual Tribute to a Fighter Pilot event honored retired USAF General Ronald R. Fogleman, who within two decades rose from a combat fighter pilot in Vietnam to the head of the U.S. Air Force at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The informal event was held Friday, October 10 at the Wings museum. With just over 100 in attendance it was a small gathering like an officer’s club get-together, with many distinguished and retired military personnel wearing olive green flight suits.

Wings CEO/President Greg Anderson introduced speakers and thanked donors and sponsors including Rolls-Royce and the Anschutz Foundation. Major General John Barry–now CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metro Denver–and Major Gen. Mike Edwards gave introductory remarks before Fogleman took the podium in front of a F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter.

Early in his career in Vietnam he served as a forward air controller in Operation Commando Sabre F-100 of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing with the call sign MISTY. The team’s mission was to fly fast and low over enemy territory to identify enemy targets and call in strikes from Air Force and Navy fighters over S. Vietnam. Fogleman was shot down in Vietnam in 1968 but was rescued shortly after.

Also addressing the guests via Skype was Aviation Hall of Famer Dick Rutan, 76, an aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world, as part of a 9-day non-stop flight with co-pilot Jeana Yeager in 1986. That plane now is on display at the Smitsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Gen. Fogleman entertained the crowd with a variety of stories including a being a reckless youth drinking beer all day which led to a mentor suggesting that he join the Air Force. To much laughter and applause, he recalled several military antics throughout his 34-year military career.  As part of his retirement plans he invested in a Pueblo port-o-potty rental company which, he said, made good use of his transferrable skills from the many years working with politicians in Washington, D.C. Afterward, Gen. Fogleman was presented with a poster with signatures from friends, family and comrades in arms.

Among those attending were: Tom Hartmann, Senior VP of Rolls-Royce; Col. Mark Hyatt; Col. John Penney; Tamarack Aerospace CEO Michael Schneider; Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen; Colorado Pilots Association President Ann Beardall; and several other MISTY pilots and retired military brass. Also in attendance was last year’s honoree–Lt. Col Bob Beabout–who chatted with Jennifer Clinkscales, President of Colorado’s Air Force Association, and Phil Ecklund. Col. Paul “PK” Robinson and Brigadier Gen. Roger Carleton enjoyed dinner with Jane Fogleman.

Now 72, General Fogleman graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963 and performed combat duty as a fighter pilot and high-speed forward air controller in Vietnam and Thailand. Among his many accolades are the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. A 1963 graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, he holds a master’s degree in military history and political science, Duke University. A command pilot and a parachutist, he has amassed more than 6,800 flying hours in fighter, transport, tanker and rotary wing aircraft. He flew 315 combat missions and logged 806 hours of combat flying in fighter aircraft.

In 1994, Fogleman became the first graduate of the Academy to advance to Chief of Staff of the Air Force. On October 9 of this year the Air Force unveiled a bronze bust in his likeness at Scott Air Force Base near Bellevue, Illinois. As part of his legacy he introduced a simplified code of conduct called the “Air Force Core Values”, which demands “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.”

For more information on Wings Over the Rockies events and programs visit wingsmuseum.org.

As part of its annual events Tribute to a Fighter Pilot signature event the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum honored retired USAF General Ronald R. Fogleman.

Also addressing the guests via Skype was Aviation Hall of Famer Dick Rutan, 76, an aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world, as part of a 9-day non-stop flight with co-pilot Jeana Yeager in 1986.

Now 72, General Fogleman graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963 and performed combat duty as a fighter pilot and high-speed forward air controller in Vietnam and Thailand. Among his many accolades are the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.

In 1994, he became the first graduate of the Academy to advance to Chief of Staff of the Air Force. On October 9 of this year the Air Force unveiled a bronze bust in his likeness at Scott Air Force Base near Bellevue, Ilinois.

As part of his legacy he introduced a simplified code of conduct called the “Air Force Core Values”, which demands “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.”

For more information on Wings Over the Rockies events and programs visit wingsmuseum.org.