Air Force Museum Foundation Honors Veterans and Patriots at the Third Annual Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor Tribute Ceremony

DAYTON, Ohio (May 21, 2015) – Stories honoring the heroic actions and dedicated service of veterans, patriots and loved ones were commemorated today at the Air Force Museum Foundation's third annual Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor Tribute Ceremony.Data Plate Wall

Over 100 guests attended the 2015 Legacy Data Plate Ceremony (Photo: Mark Riley, Air Force Museum Foundation)

Every data plate on the Wall of Honor at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force represents one of more than 850 unique stories that make up this lasting tribute to veterans, patriots and loved ones. While a data plate is a simple piece of stainless steel with an engraved message, those in attendance today would testify that it is so much more; it is a connection to a loved one.

Traditionally all military aircraft have a data plate which identifies the manufacturer and includes the aircraft model designation, serial number and other important information. Legacy Data Plates extend this tradition as a means to recognize and honor individuals in a unique way.

This month marks 70 years since millions of people around the globe poured into the streets to celebrate the end of World War II in Europe. While Data Plates honor individuals of all ages, branches and types of service, this year's ceremony focused on stories of those who served in uniform during that unprecedented time in our nation's history.

Keynote speaker Col Susan Richardson, USAF (Ret), Secretary of the Air Force Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, told the stories of three World War II pilots: 1st Lt. William Case, Maj. Antonio "Tony" Fasano and 2nd Lt. Robert Larbes.

Lieutenant Case enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 at Patterson Field (later Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) and flew B-24s in the European Theatre. After the war ended, he returned to the United States and later served the Museum for 10 years as a volunteer.

Major Fasano served as a C-47 pilot at D-Day, and later as an Air Traffic Controller in the Berlin Airlift. He eventually retired from the Air Force after 23 years of honorable service. Lieutenant Larbes served in the Eighth Air Force as a B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot in Chelveston, England, from 1943 to 1946. He eventually logged over 18,850 hours as a private pilot, airline transport pilot and single- and multi-engine flight instructor.

Mr. Brian Moran of Turner Construction also shared touching stories and humorous anecdotes about his connections to the data plate wall. Mr. Moran purchased data plates for Staff Sgt. James Moran, who during World War II served in the Fifth Air Force 22nd Bomb Group, and Sgt. Ralph Windsor of the Army Air Corps 94th Depot Supply Squadron.

Ms. Frances A. Duntz, chairman of the Air Force Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, reminded guests that "...[the] plates are not just restricted to military veterans and their families—anyone can be honored with a Legacy Data Plate." She emphasized the importance of the Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor adding, "I believe it's powerful to remember that, in the case of each of the 850 plates, someone was so moved by the story of a loved one that they purchased a plate to be placed on permanent public display at the one and only National Museum of the United States Air Force."

To view stories of the honorees on the Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor, or to find out how you can honor a loved one with a Legacy Data Plate, visit www.legacydataplates.com or contact Michele Giefer at friends@afmuseum.com or 937-656-9615.

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The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. was established in 1960 as a philanthropic, non-profit organization to assist the Air Force in the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and to undertake and advance programs and activities supporting the Museum. For more information on the Air Force Museum Foundation, visit www.airforcemuseum.com

The National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the service's national institution for preserving and presenting the Air Force story from the beginning of military flight to today's war on terrorism. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world visit the museum. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil