Statue of Liberty, in front of the flag.TriWest News

Secretary of Air Force Accepts Visions of Valor Collection


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For his actions on April 19, 1967, protecting two downed wingmen and placing his own life in jeopardy during the Vietnam War, Col. Leo K. Thorsness (then Major) earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. But before the Medal could be presented, he was shot down over North Vietnam, captured and spent six years as a prisoner of war.

After his release, Thorsness was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic action from President Richard Nixon on October 15, 1973.

Thorsness and 139 other military Medal of Honor recipients are celebrated in the “Visions of Valor” portrait collection, a set of dramatic black-and-white photographs that TriWest Healthcare Alliance will donate to the U.S. Air Force Academy during a special ceremony.

Date/Time: 9:30 a.m., Friday, April 3, 2009

Location: McDermott Academy Library at the Air Force Academy, 2354 Fairchild Dr., Suite 3A10, in Colorado Springs


  • Secretary of the United States Air Force Michael B. Donley
  • Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John F. Regni
  • TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr.
  • Medal of Honor recipients Leo K. Thorsness, Bernard Fisher, Joe M. Jackson, Peter Lemon and George Sakato

“In the hallowed halls of the Academy, walked by our nation’s future heroes, will stand the memory of the past’s bravest men, all of whom served our nation in its times of greatest need,” McIntyre said. “The collection is a tribute to those who have earned our highest honor for valor in the face of the enemy.”

Following the private ceremony, “Visions of Valor” will be on public display at the Air Force Academy.

The collection features Medal of Honor recipients who also served in the Air Force: George E. “Bud” Day, James Fleming and John Levitow. Learn more by visiting The portrait collection is also available in the book, “Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty,” photographs by Nick Del Calzo with text by Peter Collier.