Wednesday, leaders of the United States Senate and House of Representatives honored the American Fighter Aces with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award Congress can issue. Among the 1,447 U.S. pilots designated as American Fighter Aces is longtime Laramie resident Robert Milliken, who flew 68 missions in World War II.

Milliken joined the prestigious ranks of the Fighter Aces after shooting down five German Luftwaffe in four separate dogfights. In order to be declared a Fighter Ace, a pilot must have shot down at least five enemy aircraft in combat.

Milliken moved to Laramie after the war and studied Business Administration at the University of Wyoming. It was there he met Zella, his wife of nearly 70 years. Milliken went on to found Frontier Aviation, teaching flying lessons and selling planes across the region.

The Fighter Aces began during World War I and continued through the Vietnam war. Of the 1,447 pilots designated as American Fighter Aces, 77 of them are still living. Including Milliken, who will celebrate his 93rd birthday on June 6th. Coincidentally, Milliken's birthday will also be the 71st anniversary of the D-Day allied invasion of Normandy, which he flew in.