|Type||Not for profit|
|Founded||February 4, 1946|
|Headquarters||Arlington, Virginia, United States|
|Membership||Individuals and companies|
|Field||Education and advocacy|
|Number of Members||94,000 (2015)|
|Key Personnel||Chairman of the Board - Gerald R. Murray|
President - Bruce "Orville" Wright
The Air Force Association (AFA) is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit, professional military and aerospace education association that promotes American aerospace power. It is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
AFA publishes Air Force Magazine and the Daily Report. It also runs the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and conducts social networking, public outreach, and national conferences and symposia. It sponsors professional development seminars and has an awards program. AFA has a scholarship program for Air Force active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve members and their dependents. It also provides grants to promote science and math education at the elementary and secondary school level.
The association lists its mission as educating the public about the critical role of aerospace power in defense, advocating power and strong national defense and supporting the United States Air Force, the Air Force family and aerospace education.
The genesis for the Air Force Association occurred in August 1945 when United States Army Air Forces General Henry H. Arnold asked an executive of Eastman Kodak, Edward Peck Curtis, to create an organization among veterans returning from World War II that would promote airpower and the cause of a separate Air Force. Curtis held an organizing meeting in New York City on October 12, 1945, to create a nonprofit organization to meet Arnold's goals. Other significant founders of AFA in attendance were John Allard, Everett Cook, James H. Doolittle, Deering Howe, Rufus Rand, Sol Rosenblatt, Julian Rosenthal, James M. "Jimmy" Stewart, Lowell P. Weicker (Senior), Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and John Hay Whitney.
The establishment of Air Force Association was made public by Doolittle in January 1946, who explained that it would be based on a "grass-roots structure", with affiliates on local, state, and regional levels, would publish a national magazine and would provide sponsorship for educational programs about the development of airpower.
The Association was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 4, 1946. AFA's first national president was Doolittle, an aviation pioneer and recipient of the Medal of Honor. In July, Air Force Magazine, then the official service journal of the Army Air Forces, became AFA's official journal at Arnold's behest. The next month a nationwide radio broadcast in observance of Air Force Day on August 1, 1947, was organized by AFA and featured charter members Jimmy Stewart, Jack L. Warner and Ronald Reagan. In 1948 Doolittle took a year's leave of absence from Shell Oil, where he was a vice president, to establish AFA chapters nationwide.
AFA is divided into three geographic areas, comprising 14 regions, each led by a Region President.
Predominantly a volunteer organization, the association has more than 200 chapters in 49 states (Maine is the only state without a chapter) and other countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Okinawa, and the Republic of Korea. As of June 30, 2010, AFA had a membership of 117,480 of whom 37% (43,954) are life members (permanent membership), organized into local chapters. There has been a 23-year trend of declining regular membership, but increasing life membership. AFA membership in 2010 included 15% on active duty military and 70% retired or former military.
As part of its education mandate the association publishes Air Force Magazine and the online electronic news brief Daily Report. Air Force Magazine began in September 1918 as the D.M.A. Weekly News Letter, originally published by the Information Branch of the Division of Military Aeronautics, and changed names several times, becoming Air Force Magazine in January 1943. The Air Force Association assumed responsibility for its publication and content beginning in October 1946.
AFA hosts professional development conferences which feature speakers, workshops, trade shows and presentations by Air Force and national defense leaders. The organization has a public policy and research arm, the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies run by director Dr. Rebecca Grant. AFA runs CyberPatriot, a national youth cyber education program that promotes student interest in cyber security and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career fields. The "Visions of Exploration" program has its members distribute educational materials to schools and concerned citizens. This is done in part through a joint multi-disciplinary science, math and social studies program with USA Today.
The Arnold Air Society is a university level arm of the organization.
As part of its support programs AFA provides more than $1.5 million in scholarships, grants, and awards. AFA’s educational programs and scholarships are intended to encourage Air Force members to continue their education, provide funds to Air Force spouses working towards a degree, and administer grants that develop programs promoting math and science skills among young people.