Reagan presents Voyager pilots, designer with citizen's medal
The Presidential Citizen's Medal was bestowed on three Americans for their efforts in the globe-circling flight of the aircraft Voyager. President Reagan presented the medal to Voyager co-pilots Jeana Yeager and Dick Rutan and designer Burt Rutan at a ceremony here yesterday, before flying to Palm Springs, Calif., to greet the new year at the home of publisher Walter Annenberg.
The Voyager's journey marked the first time a plane has flown around the world without refueling.
President Nixon established the award by executive order in 1969 and presented it twice in 1973 -- posthumously to baseball player Roberto Clemente, who was killed in an airplane crash while on a Nicaraguan relief mission; and in person to then Secretary of State William Rogers and his wife, Adele.
The medal was established ``for the purpose of recognizing citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens,'' the White House said. In 13 years it has been awarded a total of 13 times. It is awarded at the sole discretion of a president.