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Medal of Honor Recipient Commemorates Centennial of Naval Aviation

This blog is written as a part of a celebration of “100 Years of Excellence,” in naval aviation.

“Naval Aviation has been right at the forefront of defense for our country ever since its start 100 years ago, and I think that the American people are very fortunate to have the capability to have the Navy that we do right now.” Retired Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, Jr.

Hudner, a former naval aviator and Medal of Honor recipient, was on hand Dec. 1, to celebrate the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. CoNA is a year-long tribute to the scope of all naval aviation activities including aircraft, people, ships, innovations and significant milestones. Throughout 2011, CoNA has been celebrated throughout the United States and aboard naval installations in countries across the globe to commemorate 100 years of progress and achievement in naval aviation.

During the Korean War, then Lt. j.g. Hudner, was a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32 attached to U.S.S. Leyte. Hudner made a heroic attempt to save fellow pilot Ens. Jesse Brown, who was the first black Naval Aviator and the first Black American Naval officer to lose his life in combat, by intentionally crashing his plane into the mountains of North Korea to try and rescue him.

After the ceremony, Hudner talked about his time as a pilot. Listen now as Hudner tells us about how technology has advanced naval aviation:

[youtube cRqTNWEO1Rg nolink]


– The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863, to Private Jacob Parrott, and five others.

– Since then there have been:

• 3,459 Medals of Honor Awarded

• For 3,454 separate acts of heroism

• Performed by 3,440 individuals (including nine “Unknowns”)

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