Ensign Juan Terry Trippe, USNRF WWI
Naval Aviator No. 1806 Awarded the Medal for Merit and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Trippe attended the Bovea School and graduated from the Hill School in 1917. He enrolled at Yale University but left when the United States entered World War I to apply for flight training with the U.S. Navy. After completing training in June 1918, he was designated as a Naval Aviator and was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. However, the end of World War I precluded him from flying in combat. Demobilized from active duty, he returned to Yale, graduating in 1921. While there, he was a member of St. Anthony Hall and of the Skull and Bones society. Trippe was treasurer at the first-ever meet of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association in 1920.
Juan Terry Trippe (May 3, 1898 – April 3, 1981) was an American commercial aviation pioneer, entrepreneur and the founder of Pan American World Airways, one of the iconic airlines of the twentieth century. He was instrumental in numerous revolutionary advances in airline history, including the development and production of the Boeing 314 Clipper, which opened trans-Pacific airline travel, the Boeing Stratocruiser which helped to pioneer the pressurized cabin, the Boeing 707 which launched the jet age, and the Boeing 747 which introduced the era of jumbo jets (evolved from Air Force bombers, tanker and transport design, respectively). Trippe's signing of the 747 contract coincided with the 50th anniversary of Boeing, and he gave a speech where he explained his belief that these jets would be a force that would help bring about world peace.
The Medal for Merit was, during the period it was awarded, the highest civilian decoration of the United States, awarded by the President of the United States to civilians for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services ... since the proclamation of an emergency by the President on September 8, 1939". Juan Trippe was awarded the medal, for his Wartime Contributions, on September 27, 1946. The award has not been given since 1952. He also received the Daniel Guggenheim Medal (1941), the Tony Jannus Award for his distinguished contributions to commercial aviation (1965), the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy (1966), and he was inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame on August 21, 1982.
In 1985, Trippe was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by United States President Ronald Reagan. Trippe was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1990. An endowed chair at the Yale University School of Management is the "Juan Trippe Professor in the Practice of International Trade, Finance, and Business".
Trippe was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Scotland and president of the Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York, from 1940 to 1944.