The Making of “A Fighter Pilot’s Story” and the Aftermath

Hello, my name is Vicki Murphy. I am the oldest daughter of Quentin Aanenson, the “Fighter Pilot.” I am also the webmaster of the Fighter Pilot website (and clearly an amateur, though the site was professionally updated in 2023). Years ago, for the purpose of archival preservation, I compiled all the videos we had accumulated regarding the aftermath of the broadcast of A Fighter Pilot’s Story and created DVDs for the family. As you might imagine, there were a number of interesting televised (and non-televised) interviews, speaking engagements, and special invitations that resulted from the airing of the documentary. There was also a powerfully moving award presented to my father by the French government. My father had been reluctant to mention these special events on his website, but I (being the controlling webmaster) decided to overrule him and write this page myself.

Jackie in the recording studio.
Quentin narrating the video.

The first televised showing of A Fighter Pilot’s Story was on 11/12/93 for Veteran’s Day. Then in June 1994 during the 50th anniversary of D-Day, PBS broadcast the film nationally on more than 300 stations. From time to time, Quentin would be interviewed on various news shows. He also had the great honor of receiving the French Legion of Honor award in July 1994, experienced the thrill of flying in an F-15E fighter jet at Mountain Home Air Force Base in October 1994, and participated in the ceremony when William Farrell’s painting, Thunderbolt Patriot, was donated to the National Air & Space Museum by a private benefactor in 2002. Below are a few shots grabbed from some of those shows and events.

Washington Channel 5 Fox interview with Brian Wilson. 5/30/94
Washington Channel 8 interview. 6/3/94
Chris Gordon interview. 6/3/94
Charlie Rose Show. 6/6/94

Quentin was honored to receive the French Legion of Honor (Commander) medal, representing all Americans who fought in France during World War II. Below are pictures of that ceremony grabbed from video at the French Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.

Receiving medal from Ambassador
Quentin Aanenson returning from flight in F-15E fighter at Mountain Home Air Force Base in October 1994.
Quentin at the Pentagon with Secretary of The Air Force, Dr. Sheila Widnall and Air Force Chief of Staff, General Ronald Fogleman, in 1996.
Don Lopez (Deputy Director NASM), Quentin Aanenson, Bill Farrell, and Tom Crouch (Curator NASM)