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Sam Nelson

2021 Howard Hughes Memorial Award – Richard “Dick” Rutan

By Events, Hughes Award

A retired United States Air Force officer and fighter pilot, test pilot, and record-breaking aviator who in 1986 piloted the Voyager aircraft on the first non-stop, non-refueled around-the-world flight. President Ronald Reagan awarded Dick and Burt Rutan the Presidential Citizens Medal. He served the Air Force as a Tactical Air Command fighter pilot in Vietnam, where he flew 325 combat missions in the Vietnam War. By the time he retired from the service in 1978, Dick had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and earned many prestigious accolades including the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals and the Purple Heart. The Voyager mission was just one of many remarkable and record-breaking aviation accomplishments. Dick is a renowned public speaker and established the Dick Rutan Scholarship fund, which has gifted many thousands of dollars to young scholars. He remains highly active in the world of aviation and is a true legend.