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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center (NAEC)

From CAF President/CEO Hank Coates

The arrival of the Spring season brings an air of excitement to the Commemorative Air Force.

Thank you to the many of you who joined us virtually for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center (NAEC) at Dallas Executive Airport, next to CAF National Headquarters. If you couldn’t watch the live streamed event, I encourage you to view the recording on our YouTube page. Here is the link - https://youtu.be/zfpjihQ9TpE.

Last Friday’s Ribbon Cutting was a celebration of the countless individuals who helped bring the NAEC to life. From the generosity of the facility’s namesake, Henry B. Tippie, and the many other founding donors, to the tireless efforts of the CAF General Staff and employees, the NAEC is the fulfillment of a vision that began many years ago. The ceremony also was an opportunity to preview the Victor N. Agather STEM Innovation Hangar, the Brig. Gen. Charles McGee and Don Hinz Theater, The Gallery, and the James C. Ray Education Wing that includes classrooms and workshop areas that will inspire and educate and empower generations to come.

I’m pleased to announce that the NAEC is slated to officially open in the Fall of 2021. Information will be sent out for the Grand Opening soon. This building and first year’s operating costs are over 95% funded. To date, we’ve raised more than $13.4 million toward our project budget of $14 million. It is important to note that NONE of the funds for this building came out of the CAF’s operating budget or impacted our ability to support our Units. The building was paid for without increasing membership dues or ANUAC (Annual Unit Fees). And, thanks to a generous matching grant incentive from the Ray Foundation, we’re closing in on our goal. Any donations to the NAEC received by December 31, 2021, will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000. There is still an opportunity for you to be a part of this momentous development in the CAF’s history. I encourage you to contact the development office to learn about supporting this program at development@cafhq.org or call (877) 767-7175, ext. 105. You can also donate online at https://flynaec.com/donate/.

I’m excited for the momentum we’re having on all fronts at the CAF – from the completion of the NAEC to expansion at the Unit level. Efforts are well underway to identify and grow the number of CAF Units in key locations across the country. The outpouring of interest, especially from such highly qualified individuals, is a testament to fantastic work you are doing to build and support the Commemorative Air Force.

I’m energized by the tail winds that are propelling us into summer and beyond. I hope to see many of you at airshows later this year and invite you to visit the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center during our official grand opening in the Fall.

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