Coleman will enter his 40th season as the radio voice of the Padres in 2012, which will also mark his 70th year in baseball. Second baseman and six-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees, Coleman holds the distinction of being the only Major League player to see active combat in two wars. His playing career was interrupted twice when he was called upon to serve as a Marine pilot in World War II and in the Korean War. His military service record includes 120 missions, earning him two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy citations. He retired from the United States Marine Corps at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
"Jerry epitomizes what is right about our nation and dedication to his personal principles ensured he was there when his country needed him most," said San Diego Air & Space Museum President and CEO Jim Kidrick. "We truly find him worthy of entering our Hall of Fame, to be included with the greats of all time and surely his spirit of fair play and discipline transcended his baseball and broadcasting career. He's truly 'one-of-a-kind' and we are proud to know and honor him."
Each honoree in the Class of 2011 was selected for historic contributions to aviation, space or aerospace innovation. In addition to Coleman, this year's class of inductees is comprised of Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm founder; Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 astronaut; James Raisbeck, aerospace engineering entrepreneur; Dick Rutan, combat pilot & aviation record setter; Bill Gibbs, aviation living legend; TOPGUN (the squadron); Naval Aviation, on its100th anniversary; Tom Poberezny, Experimental Aircraft Association and Airshow Pilot.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum's International Air & Space Hall of Fame is composed of hundreds of air and space pilots, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall of Fame, plus famous flying pioneers such as the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager. Notable inductees include Jack Northrop, William Boeing, Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle Jr., Frederick Rohr and Waldo Waterman.