Frank Miller, the original owner and developer of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, built the exquisite Saint Francis Chapel to hold the extraordinary gold-leafed Rayas altar and Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows.
A copper plaque to the left of the doors notes that the chapel and atrio were dedicated as the International Shrine of Aviators on December 15,1932. The words "Francis of Assisi Lover of Birds and Birdmen Patron Saint" festoon a double cross there. Mr. Miller’s chapel thus became a symbol of hope and protection for all who take to the air.
The plaque on the Famous Fliers' Wall is surrounded by 154 pairs of stunning 10-inch copper wings, each dedicated to an individual or a group of fliers.
General H.H. “Hap” Arnold
Major General Robert Olds
James H. Doolittle
General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
Brigadier General Chuck Yeager
Mercury astronaut and Senator John Glenn
John K. Northrup
General Curtis LeMay
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
The MIA – POWs (whose copper wings are wrapped in barbed wire), Orville Wright, the WASPs (Women's Army Service Pilots), and Medal of Honor Aviators are all among those honored.
Michael Coats, former astronaut and current director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, mounted his wings on November 15th, 2007. On October 15th, 2009 Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., the second man on the moon, mounted his wings on the Mission Inn’s Famous Fliers’ Wall, becoming the 154th aviator.
The 1st Fighter Wing Association knew the contributions the 1st Fighter Group/Wing made were worthy of recognition among these great aviators and started an initiative to have the 1st Fighter Group/Wing added to this amazing memorial.
On September 17th, 2011 the 1st Pursuit Group/Wing was honored by having a copper wing with their name added to the wall. Several members of the 1st Fighter Wing Association were on hand during the dedication.