Letter from the President

 

Dear members and friends of the Foundation:

The Foundation began 2018 with flying airspeed and an upward vector, thanks to the work of an outstanding Board and the continuing contributions of airpower historians, AFHF members and the dedication of Air Power History’s Editor, Richard Wolf, and the dynamic duo of Jim Vertenten and Angela Bear, who constitute our organization’s staff.

Since my last message to you the Foundation’s awards program has been very active and, judging by the feedback we’ve received, very successful. Jonna Doolittle Hoppes and I had the privilege of visiting Creech Air Force Base in Nevada on January 18th to make an on-site presentation of the 2017 Doolittle Award. Presenting this significant award at the recipient unit’s home installation had long been in our sights, and we were very pleased to see it come to fruition. The 432nd Wing command team, led by Colonel Julian Cheater, and Wing members were superb hosts.

We were provided a fascinating day of touring Creech AFB, discussing the Wing’s assigned missions, and talking with the dedicated and exquisitely trained Airmen who support warfighting commanders across the globe.  The visit culminated in a Doolittle Award presentation attended by a hangar full of Wing members and community leaders, and highlighted by prescient words that Jimmy Doolittle wrote in a 1945 letter to his wife. When the 432nd was being selected for this year’s award, a compelling argument was made that “No commander would want to go to war without them.”  We left Creech fully convinced of this: the 432nd is highly skilled, motivated and thoroughly professional, an historically-distinguished unit whose allegiance to their heritage and daily contributions to national defense are fully worthy of the Doolittle Award.  They’re an outfit of which our Foundation, Air Force and nation can be extremely proud.

At the end of the month, we began the Foundation’s annual recognition event by continuing the tradition of honoring the Doolittle Award unit at the Air Force Memorial.  Braving a bitterly cold winter day for the ceremony, an impressive group of 432nd Airmen capped their Washington DC professional development trip with the pictured award ceremony, and then joined us at Army Navy Country Club for AFHF’s Annual Awards Banquet. Here, with nearly 200 guests in attendance, the Foundation honored our other major award recipients for this year. They are:

For the Best Air Power History Article: “They Called Defeat Victory: Lam Son 719 and the Case for Airpower” by Dr. William P. Head, featured in the Summer 2016 issue.

For the Best Book Reviewed in Air Power History: The Other Space Race, by Dr. Nicholas Sambaluk, (also Summer 2016)          

The Major General I. B. Holley Award for a lifetime of documenting Air Force history: Mr. Keith Ferris

The General Carl A. “Tooey” Spaatz Award for a lifetime contribution to the making of Air Force history: General Richard B. Myers

We particularly want to thank our featured guest, Under Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Matthew P. Donovan for his attendance and remarks honoring General Myers; Mr. Ferris for his lifetime of superb aviation art, and providing a video display of it to enhance the evening; and to General Myers for his thoughtful, humorous and warm acceptance remarks. The presence of these esteemed air power contributors, plus the tremendous support of senior active duty Air Force leaders, industry partners, and many foundation members and friends, made for a wonderful and memorable evening.

The Foundation continues to expand its presence in social and other media, which we believe has helped generate membership growth and create awareness with a broader audience. Our messages are sent out Monday through Friday via email, Facebook, and Twitter to literally thousands of recipients, and then passed on to thousands more. In the fast-moving virtual world, we balance information with advocacy while always striving to set and attain high standards. If you ever see something you feel misses that mark—or areas we can fix or improve, please let us know.

At the end of January, board members and outside experts began an important discussion that has the potential to yield many benefits for our Foundation’s future.  Just as Theodore von Karman admonished Gen H.H. Arnold in the 1940s that “science would not stand still,” so it is true that the preservation, understanding and history will not stand still—and neither can our Foundation.  Arnold acted and the result was the groundbreaking “Toward New Horizons” study.  Incomparably smaller in scale but in the same spirit, we are beginning a process that I hope will involve every member of AFHF.  The goal is simple: retain the great value of our flagship publication and impeccable documentation and analysis of airpower history, while connecting better with the Airmen who serve today.  Their interest in Air Force heritage is strong—their need for an understanding of history is indisputable—and we can grow our impact and reach to meet those needs.  The trick is figuring out how–and your board is again taking up that discussion, as AFHF has in years past as times have changed.  I expect we will reach out in the months to come with a request for your thoughts—but in the meantime, come up on frequency (president@afhistory.org) and “check in” any time with your ideas!

Respectfully,

Christopher D. Miller, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret)

President and Chairman of the Board

February, 2018