The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) announced today the founding of the Neil Armstrong Outstanding Achievement Award, named after the first man to walk on the moon and a 1979 NAHF enshrinee. First to receive the award will be James A. Lovell, a fellow Apollo astronaut, Navy veteran and enshrinee.
NAHF established the Armstrong Award to recognize an exceptional, one-time aviation performance of national or international significance by a U.S. citizen or a group whose members include a majority of U.S. citizens, according to its announcement.
Lovell, a retired Navy captain, will personally accept the award during the hall of fame’s 53rd Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony on Friday, October 2.
A committee of five NAHF Board members determine the Armstrong Award recipient, according to the organization. It chose Lovell for his masterful work as Apollo 13 commander in April 1970, when an explosion crippled the spacecraft and imperiled the three crew members as they sped toward the Moon. Lovell’s skill and leadership were instrumental in their safe return to Earth.
“The establishment of the Armstrong Award provides the Hall of Fame a process to publicly acknowledge singular breakthroughs in aviation technology, leadership, and service,” said William R. Harris, chairman of the Hall of Fame’s board of trustees. “To set the bar for this new award, we felt it wholly appropriate that Captain Lovell be so recognized for his courage, leadership and skill” during the harrowing mission.
A native of Wapakoneta, Armstrong commanded the first Apollo moon landing mission and was the first human to step onto the lunar surface in 1969. He died in 2012. The Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta tells his story.
The black-tie enshrinement ceremony is to take place at the NAHF Learning Center and adjoining National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton.
The 2015 ceremony is to feature the induction of Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas, the late Robert N. Hartzell; Gene Kranz, who was flight director for the Apollo and other NASA space missions, and the late Abe Silverstein, considered “the Father of Apollo”. Lovell’s previous honors include his 1998 induction in the NAHF.
The 53rd Annual NAHF Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony is open to the public by advance registration only. Several sponsor packages featuring premium seating remain available. To make reservations or for more information, visit www.nationalaviation.org or call 937-256-0944, ext.11.