“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future”
– Robert Heinlein

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Midland/Odessa, Texas – (May 13, 2013) – The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced today a dynamic 10-year plan to continue – and elevate - its educational impact across America.  Part of the plan calls for Midland/Odessa, home of the CAF Airpower Museum, to be designated a “CAF Airbase.”  The Airbase strategy focuses on the development of multiple year-round aviation attractions in addition to Midland/Odessa, which will serve as bases of operations for some of the CAF’s most significant flying vintage military aircraft.  They will also be used to support volunteer CAF members who will organize and execute annual warbird air shows that are similar to the annual AIRSHO event in Midland/Odessa.  


"The Commemorative Air Force’s mission is education – such that Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring our nation’s freedom,” said Chairman of the Board of the Directors of the Commemorative Air Force, Neils Agather. “The board of directors has spent the past six months strategizing the future of the CAF and how we can best accomplish that mission. We have analyzed many current conditions and their impact on the organization's ability to achieve its mission. This led us to the Airbase Strategy and within that, the decision to develop a location for a CAF National Airbase. At the same time, we remain committed to our presence in Midland, including the CAF Airpower Museum, Commemorative Center, High Sky Wing and AIRSHO.”


“In today’s environment, we must find new ways to educate the public and break away from traditional and increasingly outdated methods,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan C. Brown. “The CAF plans to do so by establishing several ‘Airbases’ at key locations around the country, including maintaining our presence here in Midland/Odessa.  Each Airbase will be a public attraction containing flying vintage military aircraft combined with interactive educational displays, entertaining activities and an annual airshow. Additionally, the CAF will look to partner with other leading innovative, historical, educational and entertainment-based organizations to accomplish our mission.”


A key element of this effort, Brown said, is the CAF’s plans to establish a National Airbase.


The CAF has retained the international real estate and consulting firm of Jones Lang LaSalle to advise it in its search for a National Airbase. A key element of this effort, Brown said, is the CAF’s intent to review all options that will allow it to meet is objectives. This will include the search to establish its National Airbase at a major metropolitan area while maintaining the nationally recognized CAF Airpower Museum at Midland International Airport. Brown added that if a suitable location is found for the National Airbase, the Board of Directors has made the decision to relocate its Headquarters’ personnel and operations.


“One of the first steps in the Airbase Strategy is to initiate a search to establish this new National Airbase,” Brown explained. “The CAF has been located in Midland since 1991 and will continue its strong presence there.  In doing so, the CAF will upgrade the CAF Airpower Museum experience to include more significant airplanes and will continue to produce the annual Midland/Odessa based CAF AIRSHO presented by Western National Bank.  The CAF is a core element of the culture in West Texas and will continue to be such even as we reach out to increase our national prominence. In effect, the local community will not see any impact, as the museum and its assets, as well as the AIRSHO and local units will continue to operate as they have for the last 20 years, except with some exciting upgrades."


Western National Bank has been the presenting sponsor of the CAF AIRSHO in Midland, Texas since 2009.


 "As a locally owned bank, committed to our communities, Western National Bank is pleased to continue our support of the CAF AIRSHO,” said Jack Wood, President and CEO of Western National Bank. “This event is a brilliant, family oriented tribute to World War II aircraft and the men and women who operated them.  We continue to value this history and see no changes to our participation in this outstanding event."


In addition to AIRSHO, the CAF Airpower Museum will continue as part of the Midland/Odessa community.


“For 20 years, the CAF Airpower Museum has been an integral piece of our local school districts and our community’s tourism efforts,” CAF Airpower Museum Director Autumn Vest said.  “We will continue our mission to educate the residents and visitors of the Permian Basin.  The search for a National Airbase will in no way diminish the visitor experience at the CAF Airpower Museum or at the annual AIRSHO.  As we move forward, our community will see an upgrade to that experience with new events and activities as well as new exhibits as we work to reach the standard of the CAF Airbase strategy. I will be here in Midland/Odessa with the CAF Airpower Museum leading the charge as we begin these exciting new developments.”


Vest explained that as part of the Midland/Odessa Airbase, the CAF Airpower Museum – in collaboration with other aviation organizations – will feature new vintage aircraft among its exhibits.  These include a P-51 “Mustang”; an AT-11 “Kansan”; a Japanese “Zero”; and a Lockheed 12A Navy JO-1, the only one of its kind.  New interactive displays in the hangar will tell the stories of these aircraft and others. The museum will also work closely with the CAF’s local High Sky Wing and Desert Squadron to produce world-class aviation exhibits and events like AIRSHO, Hops & Props and Mustang Stampede.

Similar to the CAF Midland/Odessa Airbase, the CAF National Airbase facility will contain a year-round aviation attraction; house CAF Staff and volunteer-members who will organize and execute an annual warbird air show / fly-in; and be a base of operations for some of the CAF’s most significant flying vintage military aircraft.  


CAF President Brown said the CAF’s ongoing efforts to honor American military aviation would be best served by influencing a larger segment of the American population as well as international guests who are visiting the U.S.


 “This can only be accomplished by establishing a world-class attraction at a location that benefits from a significant population along with a strong tourism component,” he said.  “Sites under consideration need to meet minimum requirements as they relate to runway length and width, population, economic incentives and tourism potential.  The successful location will be a city anxious to host this educational and entertaining attraction.”


Brown said the CAF Board of Directors envisions this new National Airbase as the pinnacle of the organization’s 60 existing facilities that are currently spread over 28 states and maintained by the CAF’s 10,000 member-volunteers.


 “The CAF National Airbase will house and serve as a stage to share a rotating group of the most significant military aviation assets in history,” Brown concluded. “For more than 55 years, we have been restoring, maintaining and operating the world’s largest fleet of flying vintage military aircraft and we expect the new National Airbase to become a premier destination for the host city chosen.”


Where will HQ Airbase be?
The CAF General Staff has contracted with a professional firm to begin a nationwide search for a new property that meets the criteria below. The final location will be not be determined until Spring 2014. 
HQ Location Criteria
*In or near a major metropolitan area of 500,000 population or more
*Near the cross roads of two or more interstate highways
*150 to 200 acres of land adjacent to an airport
*Destination area with major international airport
*Community support
*Economic incentives
*Access to the CAF membership
*Infrastructure of highways, roads, hotels, restaurants, vendors and other amenities attractive to CAF members, guests and customers
*Strong local demographics and easy access to a large pool of potential customers/guests/members

Airport Criteria
*Major reliever airport with limited scheduled carrier activity
*Open airspace around and above the airport
*Runway length of 7,000 by 150 or more
*Available land fronting the runway for CAF facilities
*Visibility and ease of access
*Room and ability to grow
*Cooperative airport management and tower
*Runways, taxiways and ramp areas capable of handling the aircraft of theCAF fleet

*Ground which could sustain a Fly-in versus an air show 

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