congressional gold medal honoring the aerial combat exploits of
military pilots designated as American Fighter Aces was presented to
the organization’s representatives May 20 in Washington, D.C.
congressional leadership presented the medal during ceremonies held in
Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
medal’s authorizing legislation, Public Law 113-105, signed into law by President
Obama on May 23, 2014, designates an American Fighter Ace as “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
medal’s obverse and reverse designs were given final approval Jan. 29
by Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, acting on behalf of
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The designs were those favored by the
American Fighter Aces organization (http://www.americanfighteraces.org/).
medal’s obverse was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Joel Iskowitz and sculptured by U.S. Mint
medallic sculptor Phebe Hemphill.
obverse design features images of four pilots in uniforms representing
World War I (bottom right), World War II (top right), the Korean War
(top left) and the Vietnam War (bottom left); an ace of spades; and
military wings with a globe centered, symbolizing the global impact of
the group's service.
are AMERICAN FIGHTER ACES; ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE and MARINES.
Commission of Fine
Arts had recommended a different obverse showing four pilots
across, positioned above an image of an enemy aircraft from the
World’s War II era caught in the crosshairs of a U.S. warplane’s gun,
and the inscription representing the four military branches.
Advisory Committee recommended an obverse depicting Iskowitz’s
primary obverse devices featuring the four pilots as finally approved,
but with the inscription COURAGE TENACITY AND DUTY ABOVE ALL in place
of the military branches.
reverse was designed and sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver
Donald Everhart II.
design features four aircraft flown by American Fighter Aces and
includes five stars to represent the minimum number of aerial combat
victories required for certification as an American Fighter Ace. From
top to bottom, the planes depicted are a SPAD
biplane, P-51 Mustang, F-86 Sabre and F-4 Phantom.
are DUTY COURAGE AGGRESSIVENESS; 2014 and ACT OF CONGRESS.
the reverse, the CCAC had recommended a design depicting an eagle
clutching thunderbolts inside an ace symbol with four, five-pointed
stars above and the inscription along the top border of COURAGE
CFA recommended a proposed reverse showing the four airplanes stacked,
with the the inscription around COURAGE, TENACITY AND DUTY ABOVE ALL.
the approved designs, according to U.S. Mint officials via email,
"Each of the texture patterns (bottom of the reverse incused
lettering, the interior of the ace of spades and the field behind the
planes) was carefully designed and applied using 3D modeling
duplicates of the congressional gold medal are to be offered for sale
by the U.S. Mint for $39.95 for the 3-inch medal and $6.95 for the
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