Text: H.R.685 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 113-105 (05/23/2014)
[113th Congress Public Law 105]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 128 STAT. 1157]]
Public Law 113-105
To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces,
collectively, in recognition of their heroic military service and
defense of our country's freedom throughout the history of aviation
warfare. <<NOTE: May 23, 2014 - [H.R. 685]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: American Fighter
Aces Congressional Gold Medal Act. 31 USC 5111 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``American Fighter Aces Congressional
Gold Medal Act''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) An American Fighter Ace is 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 have
(2) Beginning with World War I, and the first use of
airplanes in warfare, military services have maintained official
records of individual aerial victory credits during every major
conflict. Of more than 60,000 United States military fighter
pilots that have taken to the air, less than 1,500 have become
(3) Americans became Fighter Aces in the Spanish Civil War,
Sino-Japanese War, Russian Civil War, Arab-Israeli War, and
others. Additionally, American military groups' recruited United
States military pilots to form the American Volunteer Group,
Eagle Squadron, and others that produced American-born Fighter
Aces fighting against axis powers prior to Pearl Harbor.
(4) The concept of a Fighter Ace is that they fought for
freedom and democracy across the globe, flying in the face of
the enemy to defend freedom throughout the history of aerial
combat. American-born citizens became Fighter Aces flying under
the flag of United States allied countries and became some of
the highest scoring Fighter Aces of their respective wars.
(5) American Fighter Aces hail from every State in the
Union, representing numerous ethnic, religious, and cultural
(6) Fighter Aces possess unique skills that have made them
successful in aerial combat. These include courage, judgment,
keen marksmanship, concentration, drive, persistence,
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and split-second thinking that makes an Ace a war fighter with
unique and valuable flight driven skills.
(7) The Aces' training, bravery, skills, sacrifice,
attention to duty, and innovative spirit illustrate the most
celebrated traits of the United States military, including
service to country and the protection of freedom and democracy.
(8) American Fighter Aces have led distinguished careers in
the military, education, private enterprise, and politics. Many
have held the rank of General or Admiral and played leadership
roles in multiple war efforts from WWI to Vietnam through many
decades. In some cases they became the highest ranking officers
for following wars.
(9) The extraordinary heroism of the American Fighter Ace
boosted American morale at home and encouraged many men and
women to enlist to fight for America and democracy across the
(10) Fighter Aces were among America's most-prized military
fighters during wars. When they rotated back to the United
States after combat tours, they trained cadets in fighter pilot
tactics that they had learned over enemy skies. The teaching of
combat dogfighting to young aviators strengthened our fighter
pilots to become more successful in the skies. The net effect of
this was to shorten wars and save the lives of young Americans.
(11) Following military service, many Fighter Aces became
test pilots due to their superior flying skills and quick
(12) Richard Bong was America's top Ace of all wars scoring
a confirmed 40 enemy victories in WWII. He was from Poplar,
Wisconsin, and flew the P-38 Lightning in all his combat sorties
flying for the 49th Fighter Group. He was killed in 1945 during
a P-80 test flight in which the engine flamed out on takeoff.
(13) The American Fighter Aces are one of the most decorated
military groups in American history. Twenty-two Fighter Aces
have achieved the rank of Admiral in the Navy. Seventy-nine
Fighter Aces have achieved the rank of General in the Army,
Marines, and Air Force. Nineteen Medals of Honor have been
awarded to individual Fighter Aces.
(14) The American Fighter Aces Association has existed for
over 50 years as the primary organization with which the Aces
have preserved their history and told their stories to the
American public. The Association established and maintains the
Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award presented annually at the
United States Air Force Academy; established and maintains an
awards program for outstanding fighter pilot ``lead-in'' trainee
graduates from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps; and
sponsors a scholarship program for descendants of American
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the
Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the
American Fighter Aces, collectively, in recognition
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of their heroic military service and defense of our country's freedom,
which has spanned the history of aviation warfare.
(b) Design and Striking.--For the purposes of the award referred to
in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury shall strike the gold
medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined
by the Secretary.
(c) Smithsonian Institution.--
(1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal in
honor of the American Fighter Aces, the gold medal shall be
given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be available
for display as appropriate and available for research.
(2) Sense of the congress.--It is the sense of the Congress
that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal
awarded pursuant to this Act available for display elsewhere,
particularly at appropriate locations associated with the
American Fighter Aces, and that preference should be given to
locations affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold
medal struck pursuant to section 3 under such regulations as the
Secretary may prescribe, at a price sufficient to cover the cost
thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and
overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.
SEC. 5. NATIONAL MEDALS.
The medal struck pursuant to this Act is a national medal for
purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
Approved May 23, 2014.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 685:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 160 (2014):
May 19, considered and passed House.
May 20, considered and passed Senate.