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.
As my father mentioned before, he wrote, produced, and narrated A Fighter Pilot’s Story because of his family’s interest in his World War II experiences. The documentary was edited by his son-in-law, Tom Pyers (currently a three-time Emmy winner). At times in the documentary, both my father and my mother read excerpts from letters they wrote to each other while my father was overseas during the war.
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.
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.
In 2000, William R. Farrell, a very talented artist in New York City, finished a painting called the Thunderbolt Patriot. As he says in the web page we created to showcase his painting, he “wanted to create a portrait of a young warrior who had seen too much of war, wondering if he would survive his next mission. His weary expression would have to reflect a dedication and personal commitment that only a few understand.” After seeing A Fighter Pilot’s Story, he decided my father “would be the ideal representative for those who flew and fought for us — especially those who would never return.”
On July 11, 2002, this painting was presented as a gift to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) by a private benefactor.