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The Air Force Association (AFA) is an independent, 501 non-profit, civilian education organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginiamarker, focused on promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation; AFA publishes AIR FORCE Magazine, conducts national symposia and disseminates information through outreach programs. It sponsors professional development seminars and recognizes excellence in the education and aerospace fields through national awards programs. AFA presents scholarships and grants to Air Force active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve members and their dependents; and awards educator grants to promote science and math education at the elementary and secondary school level. Additionally, AFA publishes a wide range of materials on www.afa.org.

History

The genesis for the Air Force Association occurred in August 1945 when Chief of the Army Air Forces General Henry H. Arnold asked an executive of Eastman Kodak, Edward Curtis, to create an organization among veterans returning from World War II to promote airpower and the cause of a separate Air Force. Curtis held an organizing meeting in New York Citymarker on October 12, 1945, for a nonprofit organization to meet Arnold's goals. In addition to Curtis, the founders of AFA in attendance were John Allard, Everett Cook, James H. Doolittle, Deering Howe, Rufus Rand, Sol Rosenblatt, Julian Rosenthal, James M. Stewart, Lowell P. Weicker (Senior), Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and John Hay Whitney.

The establishment of AFA was made public by Doolittle in January 1946, who explained that it would be based on a "grass-roots structure", with affiliates on local, state, and regional levels, would publish a national magazine, and would provide sponsorship for educational programs about the development of airpower.

The Association incorporated in the District of Columbiamarker on February 4, 1946, and its first national president was Doolittle, an aviation pioneer and recipient of the Medal of Honor. In July, Air Force Magazine, then the official service journal of the Army Air Forces, became AFA's official journal at Arnold's behest. The next month a nationwide radio broadcast in observance of "Air Force Day" on August 1, 1946, was organized by AFA and featured charter members Stewart, Jack L. Warner, and Ronald Reagan. In 1948 Doolittle took a year's leave of absence from Shell Oil, where he was a vice president, to establish AFA chapters nationwide.

Advocacy

AFA holds several symposia annually on current issues affecting aerospace power. The organization has also been an advocate in several prominent controversies, including the Revolt of the Admirals, the display of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museummarker, the creation of the United States Air Force Memorialmarker, and the reinstatement of the promotion to major general of Terryl J. Schwalier, commander of the 4404th Wing (Provisional) at the time of the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

The positions held by AFA were, for the most part, sustained. While the location of the Air Force Memorial was moved off of Arlington Ridge, the controversial Enola Gay display was revised, and Gen. Schwalier was vindicated (with his promotion reinstated retroactive to January 1, 1997) by the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records, affirmed by the Secretary of the Air Force on December 21, 2007. AFA also successfully lobbied, in cooperation with Frederick C. Bock, for award of a group decoration for the 509th Composite Group. This unit had officially gone unrecognized for its efforts in ending World War II, and as a result of this campaign was awarded an Outstanding Unit Award with Valor by the Secretary of the Air Force on September 2, 1999.

Membership

The Air Force Association is led by volunteer leaders at the national, state and local levels. AFA has more than 230 chapters that hold elections and contuct programs to increase public understanding of key national security issues in their communities. Programs range from luncheon and dinner activities to symposia and legislative roundtables with Congressional leaders.

As of June 30, 2009, AFA has a membership of 120,507 of whom 36% (43,782) are life members (permanent membership), organized into local chapters in 49 states (Mainemarker is the only state without a chapter), the United Kingdommarker, Germanymarker, Italymarker, Belgiummarker, Japanmarker, Okinawamarker, and the Republic of Koreamarker. AFA membership in 2009 included 15% on active duty military and 70% retired or former military.

In 1995 the demographics of membership were 24% life members (39,286 actual), 28% active duty, and 55% retired-former against a total membership of 170,881. Membership trends indicate that with the downsizing of the Air Force since 1991 (by approximately one-third), life membership has grown by 10% in actual membership totals and retired-former memberships has grown 30%, but that active duty membership has been cut by more than half. Peak AFA membership was 237,722 in 1986, while life membership peaked in 2009.

Programs

In addition to state and chapter programs, AFA sponsors comprehensive briefings by key Air Force and DoD leaders at national professional development events across the country. These events are keyed to topical aerospace and defense issues. Its annual professional development events include: the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, DC [245743]; the Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles, CA ; and the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, FL [245744].

The Association sponsors the annual Air Force Ball in Los Angeles in conjunction with its Global Warfare Symposium, and several other events, to raise money for its educational programs and Air Force charities. At its national convention, AFA hosts a dinner for the Air Force's twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year. AFA also conducts an extensive annual awards program to honor top Air Force professionals in key career fields.

Education

AFA is dedicated to ensuring America's aerospace excellence through education, scholarships, grants, awards and public awareness programs. In addition, AFA sponsors a series of studies and forums on aerospace and national security through its public policy and research arm, the Eaker Institute. The Mitchell Institute was established to focus and expand upon existing educational efforts in aerospace and national security policy.

AFA works through a network of thousands of individual members and volunteers to distribute educational materials to schools and concerned citizens. This is done in part through "Visions of Exploration," [245745] a joint multi-disciplinary science, math and social studies program with USA Today .

Individuals and corporations may affiliate with AFA through its Gens. Hap Arnold, Jimmy Doolittle, Ira Eaker and Bernard Schriever Fellowships, which support the Association’s educational programs. Each year, AFA helps Air Force members and their spouses achieve their educational goals by awarding scholarships and assisting educators with grants to promote aerospace projects in classrooms. AFA's Pitsenbarger Awards offer unconditional grants to top enlisted graduates of the Community College of the Air Force who intend to enroll in an accredited program toward a career-related degree.

AFA mission statement

"To EDUCATE the public about the critical role of aerospace power in the defense of our nation.

"To ADVOCATE aerospace power and a strong national defense.

"To SUPPORT the United States Air Force and the Air Force family."

Leadership

2009 National Officers
  • Board Chairman Joseph E. Sutter
  • President-CEO Michael M. Dunn
  • Executive Vice President David T. "Buck" Buckwalter
  • Vice Chairman, Field Operations Jim Lauducci
  • Vice Chairman, Aerospace Education S. Sanford Schlitt
  • National Secretary Judy K. Church
  • National Treasurer Steven R. Lundgren
  • National Director at large Larry Lawson, Lockheed
Martin Aeronautics Company executive vice president and F-22 program general manager

National officers and directors are elected by convention chapter delegates attending the national convention in September. Delegates are chosen at the State and chapter levels to represent AFA's varied membership and vote on AFA policies.

Further, AFA is divided into three geographic areas, comprising 14 regions, each led by a Region President.

Central Geographic Area:

  • Great Lakes Region (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio)—Ronald E. Thompson
  • Midwest Region (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)—Frank Gustine
  • North Central Region (Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)—Ronald Mielke
  • South Central Region (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee)—Mark Dierlam
  • Texoma Region (Oklahoma, Texas)—Terry Cox


East Geographic Area:

  • Central East Region (Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia)—Mason Botts
  • Florida Region (Florida, Puerto Rico)—Tim Brock
  • New England Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)—Ron Adams
  • Northeast Region (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)—Bob Nunamann
  • Southeast Region (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina)—Don Michels


West Geographic Area:

  • Far West Region (California, Hawaii, Guam)—Wayne Kauffman
  • Northwest Region (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)—Fred Rosenfelder
  • Rocky Mountain Region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming)—Joan Sell
  • Southwest Region (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico)—Jim Wheeler


References

External links




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