Bountiful “Ace” joins Hall of Fame
By CAPT. SEAN J. CARTER , 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 04, 2007
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Retired Utah Air National Guard Maj. Alden Rigby, Bountiful, was inducted into the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Hill Aerospace Museum.
Major Rigby was selected from more than 20 Utah aviators considered for the honor. The major will be the 21st member of the hall of fame.
"This is the ultimate in a fighter pilot, or any pilot's career," he said. "If I had any word better than awesome that's what I would say. And what an honor to share with some awesome company as well."
He was a P-51 "Mustang" fighter pilot in World War II and flew 76 combat missions over Europe. He took on the distinction of "ace" by downing five German fighter aircraft, four of those in one day. This Jan. 1, 1945 accomplishment earned then 1st Lt. Rigby the Silver Star.
Lieutenant Rigby's accomplishments were no small achievement, especially considering some outstanding circumstances. "Three of (the Lieutenant's victories) came after his gun-sight lamp had burned out," said Ivan McKinney, president of The Eighth Air Force Historical Society in a written statement. "This required that he close to almost point-blank range to score his victories. Moreover two of the victories came over enemy aircraft that held an advantage over Rigby and his comrades."
Major Rigby has also earned the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and has two Distinguished Unit Citations.
Major Rigby was born in 1923 in Fairview. He attended Brigham Young University and joined the Army Air Corps in January 1943. He married his wife, Eleen, in 1942.
More information on the Hill Aerospace Museum and the UAHOF including a full list of its members, nominees and guidance on how to nominate a Utah aviator to the Hall of Fame is available at http://www.hill.af.mil/museum.