Dick Rutan was born on July 1, 1938, in Loma Linda, California. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force for Navigator Training on May 26, 1958, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his navigator wings at Harlingen AFB, Texas, on May 6, 1959. After completing the Radar Intercept Officer Course, Lt Rutan served as an F-101B Voodoo Radar Intercept Officer with the 322nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Kingsley Field, Oregon, from December 1959 to September 1961, and then as an F-89 Scorpion Radar Intercept Officer with the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Keflavik Airport, Iceland, from September 1961 to October 1962. His next assignment was as a C-124 Globemaster II navigator with the 85th Air Transport Squadron at Travis AFB, California, from October 1962 to November 1965, followed by Undergraduate Pilot Training, earning his Pilot Wings at Laughlin AFB, Texas, in December 1966. After completing F-100 Super Sabre Combat Crew Training, Capt Rutan served as an F-100 pilot with the 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Phu Cat AB, South Vietnam, from September 1967 to October 1968, and during this time flew with the Misty Fast FACs. His next assignment was as an F-100 pilot with the 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron and as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer with the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, from November 1968 to April 1972. He then served as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer with the 3030th Support Squadron at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, from April 1972 to May 1975, followed by service as an A-7 Corsair II pilot and Commander of the 355th Field Maintenance Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, from May 1975 to August 1976. After completing an Operation Bootstrap degree program, LtCol Rutan served as Chief of the Training Division with the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB from January 1977 until his retirement from the Air Force on June 1, 1978. After his retirement from the Air Force, Dick served a Production Manager and Chief Test Pilot for Rutan Aircraft Factory, and later founded Voyager Aircraft in 1981. From December 14-23, 1986, he and Jeana Yeager made the world's first non-stop unrefueled flight around the world in the Voyager aircraft. Dick was awarded the Louis Bleriot Award in 1981, 1987, and 2005; the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Reagan in 1986; the Collier Trophy in 1986; the De la Vaulx Medal in 1986; and the Edward Longstreth Medal in 1988. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in July 2002. Dick Rutan was Misty 40.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-100F Forward Air Controller operating over North Vietnam on 26 May 1968. On that date, Captain Rutan planned and coordinated an attack against co-located heavy anti-aircraft artillery sites which threatened to halt air operations against a critical key target on a major line of communication. Directing armed fighters, Captain Rutan repeatedly exposed himself to the intense and accurate hostile ground fire to insure the destruction and neutralization of the gun sites. His phenomenal aggressiveness, superb airmanship, and complete disregard for his personal safety in the face of intense ground fire was instrumental in removing a severe threat to air operations engaged in the interdiction of arms and supplies moving into forward staging areas. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Rutan has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.