May 2019 State of the Foundation
Our tagline is “Know the Past…Shape the Future.” This past year we celebrated and documented airpower’s past with energy and acumen. We honored an Air Force wing and two individuals for making or recording Air Force history; and we also conducted with our sister services a symposium titled “In Country: The War in Vietnam-1968” which received great reviews. Your foundation was also represented at the Air Force Association’s 2018 Air, Space, and Cyber Conference, which broke attendance records for active Airmen. This was great exposure for the Foundation, something we will likely do again.
At our annual meeting the membership elected, or re-elected, the following individuals to the Board: General Ralph E. Eberhart, USAF (Ret); Lt Gen Robert J. Elder, USAF (Ret) (re-election); Lt Gen Nicholas B. Kehoe, USAF (Ret) (re-election); Maj Gen Charles W. Lyon, USAF (Ret) and Col Stephen E. Newbold, USAF (Ret). Also, appointed to fill an existing vacancy, was Maj Gen John L. Barry, USAF (Ret). We look forward to the enthusiasm and leadership these leaders will bring, or continue to bring, to the Foundation.
The Foundation hosted a well-attended awards presentation in DC in November. The Doolittle Award was presented in two different venues to the 1st Fighter Wing, this year’s recipient: The first was at our Annual Awards Banquet, and the second at their home station, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA. Those in attendance at the DC banquet were thoroughly entertained by our Spaatz award recipient Mr. Sherman N. Mullin, an engineer and executive who led Lockheed’s Skunk Works before his retirement. We also honored Lt Gen (ret) Jack Hudson, recently retired Executive Director of the National Museum of the Air Force, with the Holley award for his lengthy and successful leadership of the Museum’s airpower outreach.
Building on our recent website upgrade, we made a strong effort to expand our presence, and achieved over 40% total growth in all the different channels of e-mail, newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook. This seems to be paying off with increased membership in the Associate (online) category. Our membership now stands at 1130, a 13% gain over the past three years.
Financially, the Foundation had a nominal year, drawing slightly on our investments for operating funds but remaining essentially flat in our resource base. That said, increasing our membership, personal donations, and corporate support remain essential to offer enhanced services to you, our members; to the Air Force we support; and to all who value airpower. The Board elected to form membership and development committees to put focus and energy on these critical areas.
We have a number of specific initiatives in various stages of consideration or implementation, from seeking grants, to enhancing our electronic impact, to refreshing our book publishing efforts. I will provide updates as this work continues.
I leave you with a most serious challenge: as a Foundation, we need to be honest in asking how we will achieve the second half of our tagline, to “…shape the future.” In today’s frenetic society, knowing the past is important but it’s not enough to stop there. Certainly, our traditional emphasis on solid history cannot wane. Yet without more effective connection to serving Airmen and Air Force leadership, we are unlikely to have the growth, reach, or impact we need to have to meet the high bar established by our founders. Whether you respond to this challenge by writing on airpower history, sharing ideas with Foundation leadership, inviting active Airmen to join, or simply passing on “This Day in Air Force History” – this is a time to push up the throttle.
Christopher D. Miller,
Lt Gen, USAF (Ret)
President and Chairman of the Board