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2019 International Air & Space Hall of Fame

San Diego, CA - December 09, 2019 – More than 600 guests were on hand on Saturday, November 23 to witness the induction of the Distinguished Class of 2019 into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

The International Air & Space Hall of Fame Class of 2019, L to R: Dr. Vance Coffman, Larry Gordon (on behalf of his father Dick Gordon), Lt. Col. David Hamilton, Museum President & CEO Jim Kidrick, Joan Sullivan Garrett, Dr. Robert Liebeck, Robert Gilliland, Jr. (representing his father Robert Gilliland) and Jack Bowlus (on behalf of his father Hawley Bowlus).

The 2019 class was a who’s-who of aviation and space pioneers, and included Jeff Bezos, Hawley Bowlus, Dr. Vance Coffman, Joan Sullivan Garrett, Robert J. Gilliland, Apollo astronaut Dick Gordon, Lt. Col. David Hamilton and Dr. Robert H. Liebeck.

Top Left to Right, Bill Prosser, Hank Coates, Dave Hamilton (seated) RozeLyn Beck, and Steve Rose represent the Commemorative Air Force’s support of David Hamilton, the last surviving D-Day Pathfinder Pilot, into the 2019 International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

World War II Pathfinders Pilot Lt. Col. David Hamilton

*An elite special operations group, the Pathfinders were target-marking squadrons during WW II. Lt. Col. Hamilton enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and trained as a C-47 pilot. He was then selected to become a Pathfinders pilot. He participated in several critical missions, including dropping paratroopers into Normandy in advance of the allied invasion on D-Day. Hamilton is the last surviving Pathfinders pilot from D-Day, and his induction was truly one of the evening’s most touching moments. *

Since 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space explorers.

“We were especially pleased to honor this exemplary Class of 2019 because these men and women are amongst the most talented figures in air and space history,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “The Hall of Fame celebration was an evening everyone in attendance will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Proceeds from the International Air & Space Hall of Fame celebration benefit the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s youth education programs.

“Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is a critical first step for our future,” Kidrick said. “We must also give them the resources and impetus they need to pursue science education degrees.”

To learn more about the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, visit http://sandiegoairandspace.org/exhibits/online-exhibit-page/international-air-space-hall-of-fame.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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