The American Fighter Ace stands alone as an extraordinary man who has distinguished himself among the elite in aerial combat. He has proven himself the hunter rather than the hunted. Throughout aviation history during World War II, Korea and Vietnam these heroic pilots possessed the skills, fortitude and courage to survive combat missions and return home with no fewer than five enemy kills.
Of the hundreds of Aces who have served their country since the early days of flight, fewer than 83 remain with us today. In a short few years their historic lives will be a memory - a footnote to our nation’s rich aviation heritage. Now is the time to enshrine these aviators so that their legacy shall live on.
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Photo by Del Calzo & Associates
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER
Nick Del Calzo is the Creator and Photographer of Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. The book became a New York Times Best Seller. The Medal of Honor collection of portraits is on permanent display in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, the only such exhibition in the Hall of Heroes. Del Calzo is also the creator and photographer of the critically acclaimed photographic book, The Triumphant Spirit: Portraits & Stories of Holocaust Survivors.
His award-winning work has been showcased in exhibitions nationwide. His portraiture has been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show and CNN, and his work has been recognized in the Congressional Record and numerous national publications.
More recently, he created and founded a new program, Saluting America - Honoring Military Service: Past & Present, which has been implemented in Colorado schools. The program is designed to promote patriotism and raise youth awareness of the sacrifices made by our Nation's active duty military personnel and our veterans.
Photo by Mary Jo Collier
Peter Collier is the founding editor and currently a consultant to Encounter Books. He has worked as an author and editor for the last thirty years. During that time, he has written novels, short stories and screenplays, along with best selling biographies.
Referred to in the New York Times as "America's premier biographer of dynastic tragedy," Collier is best known for The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty; The Kennedys: An American Dream; The Fords: An American Epic; and Destructive Generation (all with David Horowitz). He is also the author of The Fondas: A Hollywood Dynasty and The Roosevelts: An American Saga. Recent books include Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, with photographs by Nick Del Calzo, and The Anti-Chomsky Reader, co-edited with David Horowitz.
The photographic challenge to complete this project is a race against time because of the high mortality rate of the Aces, most of whom are now in their 90s. In fact one of the Aces, Brig. General Frederick R. Payne (Ret), is 103. To ensure that as many Aces as possible could be included in the project, other photographers were recruited to complete the portraits of those Aces located throughout the country.