Commemorative Air Force Blogs

Welcome to the Commemorative Air Force Blogs. A great way to stay informed about what is going on with the CAF.

Stephan C. Brown is the President/CEO of the Commemorative Air Force

Play a part in CAF RISE ABOVE:WASP

Play a part in CAF RISE ABOVE:WASP

The Commemorative Air Force has a very important campaign underway - and I want to ask for your support. The CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP is a new national educational initiative. Announced this initiative has several components which will benefit the CAF all the way down to the unit's and individual member's benefit.

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The three main components of CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP are:

1.) Members: This program, will be supported by the first-ever CAF WASP Squadron. This new squadron led by CAF Col Debbie King. Debbie and about 20 other CAF Colonels have formed the initial squadron and are seeking more charter members. (see below, how to join)

2.) Aircraft: For this program the CAF plans to acquire a WASP provenance AT-6 aircraft. One of the training aircraft that was flown by WASP in Sweetwater, Texas. This aircraft has been found and optioned for purchase. This aircraft will be flown and maintained by the new CAF WASP Squadron.

3.) Educational Film: A new proprietary film - Rise Above: WASP – is being produced with similar goals as Rise Above: Red Tail. This interactive film will tell the story of the WASP using new-technology to engage the viewer. The objective of the film with be to educate but also use the WASP story to inspire young girls and boys to "rise above" their circumstances in order to achieve their dreams.

4.) Unit-level Educational Program: We have identified a portable, inflatable dome-theater that can be acquired and utilized by all CAF units to make an educational impact within their local communities. With the existing and reformatted Rise Above: Red Tail and the to-be-produced Rise Above: WASP films, all units would have a high-quality, consistent educational base program to take to their local schools and/or to draw members of the community to their locations.

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As you can see, this is a historic and highly impactful program for the CAF. We have a huge supporter and leader of our fundraising committee in CAF National WASP Program Chair Heather Penney. Heather was one of the first female F-16 combat pilots and was one of two F-16 pilots on watch on Sept. 11, 2001; prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation's capital. Heather, Debbie and all of the leadership of the CAF is asking for your support in this effort. We have an amazing promo video, narrated by 3-time Academy Award Nominated actress; Sigourney Weaver. To watch click here.

So, how can you help?

1. You can help this project by financial support. Donations can be made by clicking here. Any amount is appreciated.

1. You can also help by spreading the word about this new project. Sharing this link- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/caf/trailblazing-women-pilots-honoring-the-wasp

Sharing this link with your friends via email or on social media, like Facebook will really help get our message to a larger audience. The more people who learn about this program, the better!

This program shows our leadership in the aviation and educational community and is something that all of you can be proud of, as members of the CAF. 

Please click on the Kickstarter link and support this program and encourage others you know to do the same.

Let's Keep the CAF Flying and moving forward!

Steve

P.S. I mentioned before that a new CAF WASP Squadron is forming. If you would like to join that squadron, please click here for the CAF WASP Squadron Application.

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Thank you Bob!

It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I announce that Bob Stenevik will retire from full-time employment from the CAF, effective July 15th. I am sad because for over 10 years “Uncle Bob” has been an institution here at the CAF. When Bob came on board, it was because the CAF had a problem with Safety and needed to change the way we operated and maintained our aircraft. Because of Bob’s extensive knowledge and even more intensive focus, our processes were overhauled and our safety record since his hiring speaks to the impact he has made.

Bob StenevikPersonally, Bob has been a fabulous employee and also a mentor to many – including me. His style is unique and storied throughout the industry. If it can be summed up succinctly, Bob is a no nonsense, straight-shooter and because of that, he is universally respected. His professionalism has reflected upon the entire CAF, such that we now occupy the leadership role with the FAA and other warbird organizations – where we belong.

I am excited for Bob and especially for Libby, so that he can now enjoy more time traveling with her and working in his beloved wood-work shop. Also, Bob has agreed to remain a consultant to the CAF to help in any way that he is needed in the transition or special projects where his experience and expertise is needed. Effective April 15th, Bob will relinquish the title and duties as the VP of Operations and Maintenance and will focus the reminder of his full-time employment on completing the new Living History Flight Experience (LHFE) exemption.

Bob has reached the point of comfort in his ability to retire because of the outstanding staff he has built around him and so I am happy to announce the following:

Effective April 15th David Oliver will be promoted to - CAF Vice President of Operations and Maintenance. In a short number of years, David has proven his capabilities in Operations and Maintenance. As the Operations Officer and PIC in the B29/B24 Squadron, David helped build the Airpower History Tour and earned the respect of his peers in the Squadron and around the CAF. David recently moved to the HQ Staff as the Director of Operations and Maintenance has performed admirably in that role.

Additionally, Jim Lasche will be promoted to Director of Operations and Maintenance. In a short time, Jim has made a large impact by taking charge of the new drug testing program for the CAF. Although outside the original scope of work for which Jim was hired, he has jumped in with both feet to keep the CAF compliant by creating and overseeing this complex program.

All three of these gentlemen are to be congratulated!
Steve
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An Opportunity to Thank You

An Opportunity to Thank You

The month of April is national volunteer month. For the Commemorative Air Force, an organization which relies almost exclusively on volunteers, April gives us an opportunity to give credit where it is due, and that is to you, the members.

An important piece of my job is explaining to others how the largest flying museum is able to continue to operate. The short answer is, our members! Day in and day out, our members work across the country, maintaining aircraft, engaging communities and inspiring the next generation of Americans to honor their past by succeeding in the future.

This month we will publish profiles of many CAF members that have played a role in making the CAF successful. Of course we will not be able to feature the entire membership, which is now up to more than 12,000 people, but we would like to recognize the many ways our members make a difference.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting and working tirelessly to fulfill the CAF’s Mission.

Steve

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WASP Call to Action

Group of Women Airforce Service Pilots and B 17 Flying Fortress
 
Dear Members;
I received an email from CAF Life Member Carl Mattson, who alerted me to an issue, where your help is needed. As you probably know, the WASP (Women Air Service Pilots) had finally received veteran status in 1977 and in 2002, Arlington National Cemetery found the WASP eligible to receive standard honors. Unfortunately, according to a recent Fox news report, there is an issue. In a statement, Army spokesman Paul Prince said the cemetery superintendent in 2002 had no authority to allow WASPS' remains into the cemetery. Under federal law, he said, WASPs are eligible only for burial at cemeteries run by the Department of Veterans Affairs — not Arlington National Cemetery, which is run by the Army.
 
I reached out to CAF COL Heather Penney, our Rise Above WASP Chairwoman and asked for her input on this matter. Below is her response and recommended action for you to help right this wrong.

The WASP were pioneering and courageous women who answered the nation’s call to duty. When the Army Air Forces were short on airmen and outcome of the war still uncertain, these women volunteered against much social prejudice and skepticism. General Hap Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces (the precursor to the U.S. Air Force), intended to militarize the WASP, but because their service was so desperately needed he placed the WASP in a civilian capacity to expedite their creation.

 Unlike other women’s service auxiliaries, the WASP performed the exact same domestic missions that men did, freeing male pilots to go overseas at a time when the outcome of the war was in peril. The WASP flew every aircraft type in the Army Air Forces, and performed every kind of flying mission needed in the domestic United States from instruction, target towing, flight test, and aircraft ferry and delivery. The WASP met (and often exceeded) all military physical requirements, took and passed the same military training, and executed military missions - but because their military status had been deferred, they did so with no benefits, no recognition, and for far less pay.

Their military service was finally recognized by Congress in 1977, who granted the WASP long overdue veteran status. In 2002, Arlington National Cemetery found the WASP eligible to receive standard honors. And in 2010, the WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their valiant and pioneering service. These women are veterans, and deserve to be treated and honored as such.

 Representatives Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Susan Davis (D-Calif.) have introduced The Women Airforce Service Pilots Arlington Restoration Act (HR4336) in the House to allow the cremated remains of the WASP to be placed in Arlington. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa) have introduced a similar bill (S2437) in the Senate. Please, contact your representatives and urge them to support these bills to allow the WASP to be placed in Arlington, as is their due; their right to their last rites should not subject to the whims of the Army lawyers.

As Heather suggests, I urge you to reach out to your representatives in the House and Senate and urge them to pass these bills.
Steve
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It's been a very big year!

It's been a very big year!

As I sit to write the final column of 2015, the first thought that pops into my mind is: A lot has been accomplished this year! Unfortunately, we don’t have the space to outline all of the amazing things that the wings, squadrons, sponsor groups and detachments have done across the country this year. I read the unit newsletters that are sent to me—feel free to add me to your mailing list—and am amazed at all the cool happenings across the CAF. Keep up the great work, and know that you are accomplishing the CAF’s mission!

From a national recognition perspective, the Arsenal of Democracy (AOD) was a huge leap forward in the worldwide profile of World War II warbirds and the CAF. Having 56 aircraft fly down Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C., on the 70th anniversary of VE Day, was a sight unseen in recent memory and a real feather in the cap of all who worked on it—including U.S. governmental agencies, which found a way to make it happen. All of our members should be proud that the CAF was so strongly represented, alongside friends in the warbird world, as Washington, D.C., came to a standstill to gaze skyward as history flew overhead. And the presence of more than 300 WWII veterans on hand was moving to both participants and observers alike.

The CAF also gained international attention this year with the rescue and acquisition of the lead D-Day C-47, That’s All, Brother. The popularity of this project became overwhelmingly apparent when the Kickstarter fundraising campaign exceeded all expectations. With a boost from Hollywood actor and military adviser Dale Dye, along with 93-year-old D-Day paratrooper Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, That’s All, Brother was a big hit at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and the airplane is now beginning the first stage of restoration.

With those two projects came a growing social media popularity. We have gone from 40,000 Facebook followers a year ago, to over 130,000 as of November. But, what does that mean? Well, it means that when someone sees your airplane or the logo on your shirt, the odds of them knowing about the CAF and liking what we do is much greater than just a year ago. And this knowledge leads to more of everything: members, riders, donors, PX sales, participants, etc.

The Headquarters Staff completed a big year, by physically moving their families, offices and artifacts out of Midland and into the offices at Dallas Executive Airport. As you can imagine, this was hard for those with families, as well as staff members who had lived in Midland/Odessa for decades. I am grateful to these dedicated employees who have sacrificed a lot for the organization that they love. It wasn’t easy, and all departments ended up shorthanded by the last days in Midland, so I want to publicly thank all of them for sticking with us.

Finally, we have made quite a bit of progress as an organization over the past few years. Since 2006, the entire CAF has more than doubled in size, from a financial standpoint. In 2005, when you wrap up all revenue from the units in the field and Headquarters, we had gross revenue of just under $13 million. In 2014, 10 years later, we had gross revenue of just over $27 million! That is outstanding work in the field, and every member should feel proud that their efforts have resulted in this growth. And from everything I see going on around the CAF, I am sure that this trend will continue!

I wish you and your families very happy and healthy holiday season. And hope you are excited, as am I, to begin another fantastic year with the Commemorative Air Force!

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Thank you for your service

Thank you for your service

"Happy Veteran's Day- Thank you for your service" was the first text I
received this morning. Over the years, that "Thank You" delivered to me
personally has always struck me oddly. It is certainly a welcome shift
in the American public's attitude from the treatment my father and his
generation received after their service in Viet Nam. But I didn't face
that, nor feel the same horror and years of hardship that my
grandfather faced in WWII.

My time was in the Cold War and being stationed in a West Germany was
a real treat and wonderful experience. I got to fly helicopters over
the German countryside and I lived in a German family's basement
apartment...so I loved it. Sure, we were the speed bump designed to
slow down the Red Menace if the Cold War went hot...but, that was a
big IF.

Even without a war, there were losses- I lost a buddy in our flight
class and the CPT who replaced me crashed into a mountainside in "my"
helicopter only four months after I left. I was reminded of that when I
saw a recent memorial to him on line in he West Point Association
magazine. Glen P. Adams Jr. died too young. I think about his young
widow with sadness and am thankful for his service.

I have had the honor to meet real heroes like 100 year old Dick Cole
and 91 year old Karnig Thomasian, not to mention the scores of other
WWII, Korean,Viet Nam and Gulf War 1 veterans that this job puts me in
touch with. Those veterans inspire awe in me, along with our more
recent vets who have endured a long war, which doesn't get near the
daily focus and publicity in today's info-saturated world.

And I worry for my son, as the next veteran in my family, who may be
called upon to this latest and longest-lasting war. As we see the loss
of life and limbs from this war, I marvel at the courage of this
latest, greatest generation who is answering the call to serve and
protect our freedom.

So, today I will pass on my "Thank You" to those who have served.

And as a vet, I want to ask my fellow vets to remember and send best
and safe wishes to those who are serving now...keep them safe so that
someone can say "Thank You for your service" in their future.

Steve

 

Image-Shutterstock/Image ID: 229799434/Copyright:

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Changes for the Good

Changes for the Good

Often when CAF Headquarters staff implements a new standard for CAF units/members, whether a uniform change or new operations’ regulation; change is met with some push back. Last year, the accounting department made the decision that some CAF Units needed to use QuickBooks, preferably QuickBooks online for unit’s bookkeeping.

The decision by the staff was made with a lot of consideration. Unit Finance Coordinators for years have audited unit’s financials and the task of getting the right financial information in the format needed, proved to be an issue. The staff also is aware that this change meant importing a significant amount of data and having to learn new software. As expected, making the announcement at the 2014 Wing Staff Conference was met with a few groans and complaints.

Recently the Unit Finance Coordinator April Robinson received an email, which confirmed that the switch is beneficial, even more so than was expected.

Steve Brown, CAF President

(Please share the letter below with all CAF Unit finance officers.)

Dear April Robinson,

Should CAF units argue/fight against going to Quickbooks Online? As Finance Officer for the West Texas Wing, I kept our financial data on my personal laptop using Quicken. After a few months learning curve, I found that while a bit more cumbersome than basic Excel spreadsheets, it was very good for reports needed by the Wing but I really didn’t want to have to switch to QuickBooks whether online or not as Headquarters was recommending. I didn’t want to have to learn new software and didn’t see the benefit to the wing to have to pay a monthly fee.

After a year or two of fighting against QuickBooks, a dear friend and fellow CAF marshaller passed away suddenly. In the midst of all that pain and sorrow, we realized that he had sole access to our detachment’s website. Getting access to our website was a major hassle and took several months. That made me realize that if anything happened to me or to my laptop, the wing’s finances would be useless. Yes, I had a full system back-up but even with that, no one else had the passwords needed to access the data and they would also have had to install Quicken on their own computer. With these arguments, the wing staff agreed to switch to the QuickBooks Online option offered thru CAF Headquarters.

I personally don’t like QuickBooks as well as I did Quicken – there are some differences that make it somewhat more cumbersome – but I do like the fact that I don’t have to send reports to Headquarters because they have direct access to the records and can run whatever reports they need without me having to do anything except keep it updated and uploading my bank statements. This Headquarters’ access also allows them to correct records that were not done right according to normal accounting/bookkeeping procedures.

Last week, the hard drive on my laptop crashed so I took it to the computer repair store. After four days and 18 virus cleanups, they were able to get back the majority of the drive and files and my external back-up drive brought back what bits and pieces were missing. All I could think was this would have been a disaster if I was still using single-user Quicken rather than QuickBooks Online. Because I do have online access, I was able to make updates to the financials via my work computer, so even with not having my own computer, I was able to continue to keep everything up to date.

Currently, the monthly subscription to QuickBooks Online via CAF Headquarters is just under $15 a month. Which is a very insignificant price to pay for the relief of not worrying about losing access or important financial data. Consider it insurance for your units’ financial records…

CAF Col Kathy Mizell

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Should Units switch to Quickbooks?

QuickbooksBlogOften when CAF Headquarters staff implements a new standard for CAF units/members, whether a uniform change or new operations’ regulation; change is met with some push back.  Last year, the accounting department made the decision that some CAF Units needed to use QuickBooks, preferably QuickBooks Online for unit’s bookkeeping.

The decision by the staff was made with a lot of consideration. Unit Finance Coordinators for years have audited unit’s financials and the task of getting the right financial information in the format needed, proved to be an issue. The staff also is aware that this change meant importing a significant amount of data and having to learn new software. As expected, making the announcement at the 2014 Wing Staff Conference was met with a few groans and complaints.

Recently the Unit Finance Coordinator April Robinson received an email, which confirmed that the switch is beneficial, even more so than was expected.

Steve Brown, CAF President

(Please share the letter below with all CAF Unit finance officers.)

Dear April,

Should CAF units argue/fight against going to Quickbooks Online?

As Finance Officer for the West Texas Wing, I kept our financial data on my personal laptop using Quicken.  After a few months learning curve, I found that while a bit more cumbersome than basic Excel spreadsheets, it was very good for reports needed by the Wing but I really didn’t want to have to switch to QuickBooks whether online or not as Headquarters was recommending.  I didn’t want to have to learn new software and didn’t see the benefit to the wing to have to pay a monthly fee. 

After a year or two of fighting against QuickBooks, a dear friend and fellow CAF marshaller passed away suddenly.  In the midst of all that pain and sorrow, we realized that he had sole access to our detachment’s website.  Getting access to our website was a major hassle and took several months.  That made me realize that if anything happened to me or to my laptop, the wing’s finances would be useless.  Yes, I had a full system back-up but even with that, no one else had the passwords needed to access the data and they would also have had to install Quicken on their own computer.  With these arguments, the wing staff agreed to switch to the QuickBooks Online option offered thru CAF Headquarters. 

I personally don’t like QuickBooks as well as I did Quicken – there are some differences that make it somewhat more cumbersome – but I do like the fact that I don’t have to send reports to Headquarters because they have direct access to the records and can run whatever reports they need without me having to do anything except keep it updated and uploading my bank statements.  This Headquarters’ access also allows them to correct records that were not done right according to normal accounting/bookkeeping procedures.

Last week, the hard drive on my laptop crashed so I took it to the computer repair store.  After four days and 18 virus cleanups, they were able to get back the majority of the drive and files and my external back-up drive brought back what bits and pieces were missing.  All I could think was this would have been a disaster if I was still using single-user Quicken rather than QuickBooks Online.  Because I do have online access, I was able to make updates to the financials via my work computer, so even with not having my own computer, I was able to continue to keep everything up to date.

Currently, the monthly subscription to QuickBooks Online via CAF Headquarters is just under $15 a month.  Which is a very insignificant price to pay for the relief of not worrying about losing access or important financial data.  Consider it insurance for your units’ financial records…

CAF Col Kathy Mizell

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CAF Units and Crowdsource Fundraising

CAF Units and Crowdsource Fundraising

By now many of you have recognized the amazing success that the crowdsource funding (Kickstarter) has had toward the acquisition and restoration efforts for C-47, That's All, Brother. It has been exciting and rewarding, but this was no accident. Although we were not experts, a lot of time, effort and analysis went into the project and even then, we have learned many things along the way.

To those of you working to raise funds in your unit or for your airplane, this may appear to be "easy money." Nothing could be further from the truth and as many as five previous efforts by units have failed. Therefore, we want to help you to be successful.

Right now, we have an active CAF campaign going for the next 18 days. While that campaign is underway, I do not want the waters muddied by a host of other CAF campaigns launching.

This is for two reasons:

First, our targeted donors don't understand that CAF has many units and many airplanes, so adding more projects under the CAF banner makes us look greedy, could add confusion or a backlash against the organization which could affect our future ability to raise crowdsource funds.

Second, we are still experimenting and learning during this campaign and want to have no market confusion during the next three weeks. Beyond this short time frame, for a national level presence of fund raising, there needs to be some quality control and assistance rendered by Headquarters to ensure that the projects are successful and adhere to the brand standards of the CAF organization.

Therefore, if you think that your unit has a project for crowdsource funding, please submit it for review and approval to my office. The keys for approval are:

  •             A plan
  •             A project which has a GREAT story
  •             A goal
  •             A beginning and an end

If you look at all of the things that make That's All, Brother appealing- those are the kind of projects that have the best chance of success.
Crowdsource fundraising websites should not be used to keep your unit afloat, because you haven't found a way to raise money locally- that is still your primary focus.  To be clear, all units must submit projects to Headquarters for approval for web-based crowdsource funding. We will publish a guide in the near future with a submittal process and tips for success. You are also welcome to call me directly to discuss this policy. 

 Signature

Stephan C. Brown

CAF President/CEO

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Michael Gurganus
Honored my dad with $100 donation. As a veteran and a new member to an outstanding organization, I'd hope every Colonel will suppo... Read More
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Arsenal of Democracy is Ready to Roll!

IMG 7052The day has finally arrived! I am sitting in the flight brief for the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover which occurs at 12:10 ET today.
ww2flyover.org.

It has been a magical week for weather and press coverage. Washington, D.C. is buzzing with excitement and I think all federal agencies will shut down for an hour as they go to the roof and watch our 56-Warbirds fly down the D.C. Mall at 1,000 feet. Last night we held a Gala at the Air and Space Museum where 500 people heard four WWII veterans
interviewed by David Hartman. The stories from a Triple Ace, Navy flyer, Tuskegee Airman and B-29 Gunner/POW moved the audience and set the tone for today. Be sure to watch CSpan and/or click the link on the web site to hear the narration. It will send chills down your spine. ( I have the good fortune to be in the back of a P-51 Mustang so you can bet I will have chills!

Steve

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National Volunteer Week

 MG 4814 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - Atlanta Warbirds Weekend - PDK Atlanta GA -September 28 2014 copy

As President of the organization with the BEST volunteers anywhere, I want to put forth my warmest “Thank you” to all of our Commemorative Air Force member / volunteers, during National Volunteer Week! 

 For 58 years the most amazing fleet of vintage military aircraft in the world have been cared for and flown by CAF volunteers – all in the mission of educating Americans to value the freedoms that we all enjoy.

Thank you for all of the time and resources you have spent “Keeping the CAF Flying”!

Sincerely,

 Steve Brown

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Arsenal of Democracy

Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Capitol Flyover Support The FLyover

If you haven’t heard, CAF is part of the leadership of what should be the most significant national warbird exhibition since WWII. At 12:10PM on May 8th , 2015  - the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) there will be a flyover of 25-70 vintage military aircraft over Washington DC. These aircraft will fly down the Potomac and along the Capitol Mall at 1000 feet above the ground. Reagan national Airport will shut down while formations of 4-6 aircraft, spaced 2 minutes apart, fly this route. A key viewing spot will be the National WWII Memorial, where WWII veterans will be gathered to see this historic flyover. VP of Flight Ops, COL Bob Stenevik and CAF COL Mike Ginter have been the heavy lifters in the flight planning aspect; members of the National Capitol Squadron, along with good friend Mike Dale are helping make the logistics happen for the crews which will be based at the airports in Manassas and Culpeper. Other organizations leading the charge here include General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) and the Texas Flying Legends (TFLM). As I am finishing this article, we have just received the Exemption from the FAA to fly this event – the final step in the approval process – Hooray! There will also be a “black tie” Gala at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, on May 7th, with many WWII luminaries and other VIP’s celebrating the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover celebration.

This event is being supported solely by fund raising that the leadership team of the AoD can deliver. (of which I am a member) If you would like to help us get the maximum participation of airplanes (29 are currently scheduled to be CAF aircraft) feel free to contribute at www.ww2flyover.org . The CAF is the controlling institution and all donations are tax deductible. Stay tuned to that website for updated information. This is a big opportunity for the CAF to be seen by the National Public!

Steve.

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Happy New Year Everyone

Happy New Year Everyone

I thought I would write a blog with some catch up of events to start off the New Year:

DALLAS UPDATE:

If you have followed things in the bi-weekly Enewsletter On The Fly, we got through two votes by Dallas City Council with unanimous approvals towards our incentive packages. We have to perform to receive the funds, by moving Headquarters and raising funds, which will be matched. And we are starting on that right away. We have hired a new Chief Development Officer, Melissa Ogden, and she starts work this week. She lives in Dallas and has experience in capital campaigns. We had strong supporters in the City Council and even those with concerns voted for these incentives; and will see that we are good neighbors who will bring about economic benefits to the local area. As we start spooling up here, we will be employing local businesses and recruiting from the labor pool of the surrounding market.

We will take possession of the former Dallas Jet Center at Dallas Executive Airport this month and several of us staff will have offices there right away. So, if you are in or passing through Dallas, stop by and say “Hi” to me and the other staff members. This year we will have some aircraft hangared there, including the B-24 Liberator. We won't be open to the public per se; but we welcome people dropping by to learn more about us, or to join if interested! The remainder of the Headquarters Staff who have chosen to relocate, will do so this Fall.

TRAVEL

I have made some last minute travel plans and will be at a few Units this month:

Jan 17 - CenTex Wing  - Annual Banquet

January 18-19 CAF Airbase Arizona - Staff Assistance Visit (SAV) and meet the members

Jan 20 - SoCal Wing - Meet with Unit Staff and meet the members

So, if you are in the area for any of those dates, or are members of those units, please stop by to say “Hi” and catch up with me.

UNBROKEN

Just before Christmas, we held a press event to highlight our B-24 in concert with the opening of the movie, "Unbroken." If you haven't read the book, this movie is a good place to start. I have read the book and the movie does a really good job squeezing this huge story into 2 hours and 20 minutes. We brought over our B-24 Diamond Lil to Dallas Executive Airport (DEA) and flew in CAF COL Karnig Thomasian. Karnig is a WWII vet and former POW, who was held in a Japanese prison camp for 6 months. I met Karnig through a mutual friend and he came to the WWII Air Expo in New Orleans. He is a fabulous speaker and looks 20 years younger than his age of 90 years. The press showed up in droves to interview Karnig and see the airplane. It was a good way to show the community what the CAF is about. I recorded two stations that had stories. (See the clips) 

COLLABORATION

In the November Dispatch, I wrote about the WWII Air Expo- New Orleans, held last October in collaboration with the National WWII Museum, which I referenced above. That Flight Lead article triggered some feedback and showed other examples of collaboration. One letter is below:


Dear Mr. Brown,

My name is Ben Jarvis, CAF member 20384.  I live in Tulsa, OK and work at American Airlines as a structures mechanic on 757/767s.  During the holiday base shut down I had a chance to catch up on some reading and the November issue of Dispatch was on the list of reads.  As soon as I finished your piece on collaboration, I knew I had to write you and tell you my story.

Along with being a CAF life member, I am also a member of the Flagship Detroit Foundation.  You may or may not know about Flagship Detroit, but it is the oldest flying DC3 in the world.  She was the second DC3 bought by AA back in 1937.  She comes to Tulsa quite a bit for maintenance and for the winter months where she can rest inside.  She's here now until April getting the #2 engine overhauled, but that is getting ahead of the story.  Let me take a step back....

Back in August, FSD came to Tulsa for two weeks for routine maintenance and cleaning.  September 10, she left and went to Sioux Falls, SD for an air show.  Well as we all know when working with 70 year old aircraft, things seem to happen!  While in Sioux Falls, a cylinder went south and needed changing.  All the volunteers here couldn't take time off to travel up there, so I did a little research.  Turns out, FSD was at the same airport the Joe Foss Squadron meets at!  I gave the Director of Maintenance, Jim Gentry, the name and number of the squadron leader, Rick Tupper, and told him he should give him a call.  Old airplane guys stick together and I figured they would be glad to help out.  Well they did help out- a lot!  I don't have names since I couldn't get up there, but I wanted you to know they were instrumental in getting her going again.  Unfortunately, that was the end of the air show season.  The decision was made by the board members that an engine overhaul was necessary on the #2 engine.

We all know there are thousands of little parts that make up these planes, and some of them are getting pretty hard to find.  While looking for engine mounts and having no luck, I decided to call up the Arizona Wing.  I grew up in Tempe and became a member there when I was 18.  I learned a lot from those old boys and I knew they had their stuff together even back in the 1980s/90s.  I called them because FSD has Wright 1820's, not P&W 1830's, and thought there may be something available in Mesa.  I have talked to Pete Loguda and Luke (didn't get his last name), and the info they've given is priceless!  While talking to Luke, I found out that the rubber mounts we need were made by Dow-Elco and the company is still around.  Then he gave me their phone number!  I called them up and we were able to purchase new ones for almost half of what we could find from the parts hoarder guys!

So, that is why I wanted to write to you.  I wanted you to know that the generosity of the CAF members is also helping to keep other antiques flying too.  I have always been proud to call myself a CAF colonel. I thought that someone should know that the members of the Joe Foss Squadron and CAF Airbase Arizona are doing great things.  Any time they come to Tulsa, we'll be here willing to get our hands dirty with them.  It does indeed take a collaborative effort to keep 'em flying.

Sincerely,
Be
njamin Jarvis

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 FSD pit crew (left to right): Jim Gentry, Bill Brown, Ben Jarvis, Dave Romere  

I hope that everyone had a good holiday season...Spring and the air show season are just around the corner and I can't wait to see you and to keep the positive momentum rolling!

Steve

 

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Big Day in Our CAF History

 

Today was a Big Day in the history of the CAF, as we received a 14-0 vote from the Dallas City Council. From today forward we will endeavor to build a world-class aviation attraction, like no other, and continue to make a positive imprint upon Americans, as do all of our units, members and airplanes around the country. I look forward to having a CAF National Airbase that is centrally located and is of such a presence that all members will feel proud of their CAF Headquarters.

It has been a long two years that this metamorphosis has taken place - from the initial board decision to make the move, to the 23 cities that so graciously bid for us - and the final selection of Dallas Executive Airport. More than ever I am convinced that this is the best location for us and the most welcoming. The community has been overwhelmingly supportive, as evidenced by the kind words of many City Council members and the unanimous votes in favor of the economic incentives both last month and today.

I also want to extend my special thanks to those members who attended the city council meeting today, in person, dressed in their CAF uniform. We had 25 Colonels sitting tall and looking good - and this left a definite impression upon the Council members - Thank You for taking the time to come! Also, thanks to all of you that have offered their support through letters and emails - they have meant a lot to me and to the process.

We are excited about the next stage, where we go forward to design the attraction and raise the funds to execute that vision. We will ask for your support and welcome your input. 

And I have no doubt that we will be successful!

Let's Keep the CAF Flying....because we ARE moving forward!

Steve

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Robert Arthur Bell Jr
As a relatively new CAF Colonel (August 2014) and a resident of Reading, PA, I just want to express how proud I was to share and s... Read More
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 00:44
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Milestone Reached in the CAF National Airbase Project

Milestone Reached in the CAF National Airbase Project

The Commemorative Air Force reached an important milestone in the CAF National Airbase Project. On Monday, Nov. 3 we met with the City of Dallas economic development committee and discussed many of the details about our creating a World War II aviation attraction and CAF Headquarters at Dallas Executive Airport.

Since announcing that we selected Dallas as our location for the CAF National Airbase in April, our team has been working hard to make sure our transition to Dallas is a smooth landing. Some of our management staff, including Adam Smith and I, are already working out of Dallas. The rest of our management staff will be joining us next year.

We are meeting regularly with city officials, area residents and local companies to begin establishing relationships and laying the foundation for the CAF in the City of Dallas. In October, we held our first CAF WWII Air Expo at Dallas Executive Airport, which drew over 5,000 attendees and included an Education Day where hundreds of students came for a free tour of aircraft by CAF members and World War II Veterans.

The education day was strategic in establishing that the Commemorative Air Force is committed to education in a fun, unique way. As expected, the response was stellar. Brooke Syverson, a Dallas school teacher contacted the CAF to express her appreciation. She said “The enthusiasm of everyone involved at the CAF WWII Air Expo and the variety of information from history to aviation to military kept all of my students engaged. It was a wonderful ‘hands-on’ learning experience.”

We’ve also started working on a critical component of our project, fundraising. As part of the incentive to build in Dallas, the city council’s economic development committee has agreed to recommend final approval to City Council on the first part of $8.7 million in proposed financial support. (their vote will be November 12th) The second part including our Lease will be reviewed by this same committee on December 3rd. This money will be paid out over time and will be awarded based on our ability to raise matching funds, create local jobs and build a world-class aviation attraction. We are gearing up to begin our fund raising efforts in earnest this January, after we receive final approval from the Dallas City Council.

As you can see, we are fully committed to making Dallas Executive Airport the future home of the Commemorative Air Force National Air Base. And the City of Dallas is behind us too. The CAF’s headquarters at Dallas Executive Airport will infuse new life into the local community. The future aviation museum attraction will become a world-class tourist destination for our city. Not only will this be a wonderful tourist attraction, but it will be an opportunity to create more jobs, and be a true economic boost to the city over the next 20 years.

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CAF Takes Action Regarding Proposed FAA Rule

CAF Takes Action Regarding Proposed FAA Rule

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a new policy on July 22, 2014, to address the non-aeronautical use of airport hangars. A summary of the proposed Non-aeronautical Use of Airport Hangars rule stated on the regulations.gov website reads, “Under Federal law, airport operators that have accepted federal grants and/or those that have obligations contained in property deeds for property transferred under various Federal laws such as the Surplus Property Act generally may use airport property only for aviation-related purposes unless otherwise approved by the FAA. Compliance inspections by FAA staff, as well as audits by the Government Accountability Office, have found that some hangars intended for aircraft storage are routinely used to store non-aeronautical items such as vehicles and large household items. In some cases, this storage interferes with—or entirely displaces—aeronautical use of the hangar. Moreover, many airports have a waiting list for hangar space, and a tenant's use of a hangar for non-aeronautical purposes prevents aircraft owners from obtaining access to hangar storage on the airport. At the same time, the FAA realizes that storage of some small incidental items in a hangar that is otherwise used for aircraft storage will have no effect on the aeronautical utility of the hangar. The FAA is proposing a statement of policy on use of airport hangars to clarify compliance requirements for airport sponsors, airport manager, airport tenants, state aviation officials, and FAA compliance staff. This notice solicits public comment on the proposed policy statement.”

According to Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, “the CAF and many other non-profit aviation museums around the country exhibit static and flying aircraft in hangars for the purpose of education. However, many non-aeronautical items are also displayed in order to tell these stories. Additionally, food service, merchandise and other revenue-producing operations occur that are supplementary to education and crucial to the business operations of aviation museums. In addition, the CAF’s 60 unit locations, along with hundreds of other aviation museums, experimental, limited and standard category aircraft undergo multi-year restoration efforts - this new rule would threaten those efforts. The CAF is requesting an extension of the comment period on the proposed rule for non-aeronautical uses of aircraft hangars in order for more comments to be registered and for the FAA to delve deeper into the unintended consequences of this proposed rule.”

The Commemorative Air Force will continue to coordinate with the responsible government agencies as well as track this situation because of the potential direct impact to the organization’s operations. To bolster the organization’s efforts, the CAF has made requests to its membership and supporters to voice their concerns about the potential impact of this proposed rule via public comment. Those wanting to voice their opinions must do so before September 5, when the public comment period ends.

The CAF’s official statement requests the policy clearly establish aviation museums/static aircraft displays, aircraft building/restoration, non aviation historical/educational supporting artifacts, signs and other museum support functions such as food and beverage operations, as an approved aeronautical purpose. The statement goes on to say “all of our hangars are used for storing, restoring and performing maintenance on our flying aircraft, as well as museum educational operations. Within some of the larger hangars, they maintain artifacts associated with the history of the airplanes, the wars and battles associated with the era and use them to tell the story about the role of the aircraft and the men and women who flew them to preserve our peace and that of our allies. In some cases we maintain multiple hangars and buildings as a campus, some of which are for the interpretive displays and viewing of artifacts by the public. In all cases, the focus is on our educational mission, as a flying museum and we display the static elements as supporting and necessary elements of the total story and history.”

Aviation enthusiasts and members of various aviation organizations have posted over 700 comments. Several comments expressed concern regarding restrictions affecting the early stages of the homebuilt aircraft projects. “With the comments mounting and actions being taken directly with government agencies, the best outcome would be an industry meeting with the FAA to be sure they understand the concerns and possible impact on aviation non-profit organizations and museums,” concluded Brown.

Comments may be placed by visiting the following link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FAA-2014-0463-0538   

In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to “Keep ‘Em Flying!” Nearly 60 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, with a fleet of 162 vintage aircraft. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 12,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to more than 80 units located in 26 states. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000.

Photo- Hangar flags over the CAF Old Dominion Squadron Stinson OY-1 Sentinel. Photo by Jim Euverard.

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Visiting Seattle's Finest Attractions

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Good use of aircraft and photo backdrop.

 Visiting Seattle's Finest Attractions

Last week, Adam Smith (CAF Executive Vice President of Strategic Development), Gerald Oliver (CAF General Staff, B-29 Squadron), David Oliver (B-29 Pilot) and I visited Museum of Flight (MOF) and Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Museum in Seattle, WA. The following day, Neils Agather (CAF Chief of Staff) joined us at Future of Flight and the restoration facility for MOF. We packed a lot in, especially with Ralph Bufano who is the President Emeritus of MOF,

 SB Blog Seattle2
Unknown to any of us, there is a model of
the CAF B-29 FIFI at the Museum of Flight.

who led us and spoke to us about the process of designing, programming and fund raising for a major attraction such as this. They have over 500,000 paid visitors each year and really do things right, so it was great to look through the lens of developing our CAF National Airbase. Our goal as we travel around the country is to look at many different attractions, not just aviation, and then borrow, tweak or re-package the best of what we see, to design and construct an aviation attraction like no other. 

We also got to see FIFI back at its parent company, when it was at Boeing Field and I know that their employees were excited to see and tour a piece of their corporate history. The B-29 relocated at a nearby air field, where they were booked up with rides!
 
Many people I run into ask if we have "moved yet." The Headquarters will not actually move until next summer, including some of the employees that plan to move. Personally, I am moving right away - I sold my home in Midland and purchased one in Arlington. I will go back and forth between Dallas and Midland, with much of my time devoted to the CAF National Airbase. But, as is always the case, I will be traveling and visiting units. I am able to do this because of the fine Headquarters Staff in Midland and those scattered at remote locations. I am proud of the Staff we have and their knowledge and skill allows me the flexibility to focus outside the daily operations.
 
On the weekend, I shot down to see my son Austin, who is working at Moffett Field at the NASA facility. He is assigned with Army Test Pilots who handle development of new software and hardware for Army Aviation. He has come to have a big desire to go to flight school and he has focused his studies at Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineering. Of course flying with test pilots is making the fever rise!

I will be back in Midland this week to work with the High Sky Wing.

Steve

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CAF Red, White & Loud in Missouri

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I am writing this from the audience of an air show in Cameron, Mo. where we have a CAF Red, White & Loud concert underway starring our pal and CAF Col Aaron Tippin. Here are a couple of photos. Aren't we lucky to have such a patriotic performer extending our CAF brand to his fans?!  He's a class act who cares about our mission.

Thanks Aaron!

 

 

 

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In the Local News Again

1964980 10152370196503567 2043379564151518862 nLeah recently informed me that people are actually reading this blog and that now you can sign up to receive an email alert! So, thanks to all of you that are doing so – I will work hard to make this informative, entertaining and somewhat regular; hopefully without too much frequency to avoid it being annoying. I have a love-hate relationship with the monthly article I wrote for Dispatch - Flight Lead. I love when I find a topic that people are impacted by and have gotten feedback that I sometimes hit that desired mark. Usually I am dreading the email from Leah Block reminding me that she is waiting on this column. I will make this blog less formal, but feel free to give me feedback on anything I write. Whether we agree or not – I enjoy the discourse!

I visited the CAF Red Tail Squadron and CAF Minnesota Wing two weekends ago – boy I love their weather in the summer time! It was good meeting with the Red Tail Squadron mechanics, who have done such a fabulous job both restoring and maintaining the aircraft, as it travels the countryside with the CAF Rise Above Traveling Exhibit. We had some good discussions about the plans to have the Red Tail Squadron base out of CAF National Airbase, which is some years away, and how beneficial that will be for the Rise Above theme and the continued national impact that the program will have. I also discussed the next steps with the unit leadership. Although we have not made any decisions, this is our focus. (If you haven’t been thru the trailer and seen the movie, you have to go! It is powerful. And be sure to talk with Terry and Jennette Hollis, who travel on tour with the trailer, they are the best.)

I met the next night with the CAF Minnesota Wing for a nice dinner that they provided (tasty lasagna!) It was a beautiful evening and a good turnout showed up midweek to welcome me. I spoke to them for 45 minutes and gave them a blow-by-blow synopsis of the last 18 months regarding the move, the vote, the search the process and the decision. I realized that it reads like a novel as I went through it and I feel confident from the looks on their faces that it was eye opening and intriguing as I told them about the hard work done by so many to convince people of the long-term wisdom of making a move, through phone calls, emails, articles and one-on-one conversations. All of that effort to encourage 2200+ people to vote….only to get the required 75% by two votes!!! Even I couldn’t believe it, except that I lived it. Some have scoffed, but the votes were received and handled by an independent audit firm (the same firm who handles our financial audits and all recent elections)…after two recounts,  2 votes were the margin of victory! Of course the obvious fact is that an election where 75% of anybody votes for anything is a super-mandate. The Minnesota Wing enjoyed and were enthralled by the story and I think this story will become legendary in 20 years when we look back from the heights I expect CAF to rise too.

  • Preview: Next Blog – Austin Brown, my son, the West Pointer goes to summer training and preps for his Senior Year.
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Tora practice 2014

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Ever wonder how the best air show act in the business gets that good? Here is Tora practicing on the ground before takeoff. Taken at Lake Conroe,Texas.

 

 

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