AFA Accomplishments

February 4, 1946
AFA was incorporated in Washington, D.C. This is the date observed as AFA’s birthday. 

July 1946
Air Force Magazine, “The Official Service Journal of the US Army Air Forces,” became the official journal of the Air Force Association.

September 18, 1947
The United States Air Force became an independent military service, as a part of the National Security Act of 1947. 

1948
AFA creates its award program and institutes the H.H. Arnold Award, The Flight Trophy (renamed in 1957 as the David C. Schilling Award), The Science Trophy (renamed in honor of the late Theodore von Karman), The Arts and Letters Trophy (renamed in 1966 in honor of the late Gill Robb Wilson), and the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award.

September 1951
The “USAF Almanac” first appeared as the “Anniversary Issue” and included the “Guide to Air Force Installations Worldwide” and a chart on the “Education Level of Officers of the Three Services.” From there it grew to the compendium of information now found in the annual Almanac. 

May 1956
The Air Force Association Foundation - later the Aerospace Education Foundation - was formally established.

July 1956
AFA enters the insurance business: It announces the Flight Pay Protection Plan.

August 1956
At the Air Force Association’s 10th Annual National Convention in New Orleans, the Outstanding Airmen of the Year (OAY) program was born from an idea of then Executive Director James H. Straubel.

April 1959
AFA’s World Congress of Flight in Las Vegas was the first international air show in US history. Fifty-one foreign nations participated.

October 1960
AFA life insurance program begins, meeting a critical need for the families of military aviators, helping them obtain life insurance generally not available to them through other sources.

March 1964
AFA’s Airmen’s Council asks USAF to appoint a “Sergeant Major of the Air Force.” The proposal was turned down, but the idea continued until 1967, when the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force was appointed. 

March 1967
The Aerospace Education Foundation undertakes “Project Utah” in cooperation with the US Office of Education. It demonstrates the feasibility of using Air Force technical training courses in the Utah public school system. This award-winning project, significant in its own right, was given major credit for later helping secure accreditation for the Community College of the Air Force. 

October 1969
Air Force Magazine cover story, “The Forgotten Americans of the Vietnam War,” ignites national concern for the prisoners of war and the missing in action. This article stirs the conscience of the nation and rallies millions to the cause of the POWs and MIAs. 

August 1984
After thirty-eight years in the District of Columbia, AFA National Headquarters moves into the association’s own building in Arlington, Va.

September 1987 
President Ronald W. Regan invites the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year to the White House and pins the OAY Badge on each recipient.

October 1990
AFA, in conjunction with the Air Force Chief of Staff, sponsors “Stealth Days” at Andrews Air Force Base to educate members of Congress about stealth technology, its uses and applications.  Members also viewed stealth aircraft including the F-117, the B-2 and the forerunner development models of the F-22 and F-35.

January 1991
The Aerospace Education Foundation joins AFA chapters and USA Today newspaper in the “Visions of Exploration” program, which provides public school students with materials to develop their interests in issues of the twenty-first century. 

January 1992
AFA led the way in establishing the Air Force Memorial Foundation to build a national monument in the Washington, D.C. area to the Air Force and airmen.

March 1994
An AFA Special Report, “The Smithsonian and the Enola Gay,” exposes plans by the National Air and Space Museum to display the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima as a prop in a politically rigged exhibition lacking balance and historical context. Other groups, Congress, the news media, and the public pick up the issue and force the museum to change not only the plan for this program but also its approach to exhibition planning. 

September 1995
The Aerospace Education Foundation awarded the first spouse scholarships. More than 500 spouses of Air Force active duty, Guard, and Reserve competed for the first 10 scholarships. 

December 1995
AFA along with the Military Coalition worked together to advocate to Congress the changing of the source tax law. With AFA’s help the law declared that “no state may impose an income tax on any retirement income of an individual who is not a resident or domiciliary of such state.” The previous law had implications for military retirees who may have lived, through no choice of their own, in a dozen locations in the course of their military career and then were required to pay a tax to each state they lived in throughout their career. 

April 1997
AFA hosts the 50th Anniversary of the Air Force in Las Vegas. The event included a conference of Global Air Chiefs, a spectacular air show at Nellis Air Force Base, and top notch speakers.

April 1997
AFA successfully briefed the House and Senate Armed Services Committees about the need for members transferring overseas to be able to ship two personal vehicles, due to the changing demographics of the Air Force family wherein the spouse is normally employed.

September 1998
Families seeking military honors at funerals of veterans and retirees found it difficult to secure a final salute. AFA took this issue to Capitol Hill and 587 delegates personally delivered messages to Congress on getting burial honors. The congressional education effort led to the issue being included in the Defense Authorization Act of 1999. The act stated that an honor guard detail of not less than three persons will be included for any veteran death. 

October 1999
AFA helped to secure an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, with valor device, for the 509th Composite Group. The group’s aircraft Enola Gay and Bockscar dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing World War II to an end and saving countless American lives. 

September 2000
The House and Senate voted unanimously to grant a five-year extension to the Air Force Memorial's enabling legislation (House Resolution 4583) to allow fundraising to continue; the following month, the President signed the legislation into law.  

March 2001
Working with the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation, AFA successfully advocated for the capital gains tax to be eliminated for members’ private residence sales when undertaking a PCS within two years of being on station.

March 2001
AFA, working with the Senate Finance Committee, successfully eliminated Dual Compensation Laws so there is no penalty reduction when service members immediately work for the federal government after retirement.

December 2002
AFA helped to secure a Silver Star for Lt. Col. David B. Van Pelt. It was promised to him but he never received it for his actions during the Korean War. AFA was able to work with the Air Force to get the award that Van Pelt earned 50 years prior.

August 2005
Air Force Magazine launches the Daily Report, the go-to news column on the Air Force, airpower, and defense.

October 2006
The Air Force Memorial is dedicated and the United States Air Force Memorial is presented to the nation.

May 2007
AFA establishes the Mitchell Institute. The institute seeks to carry on, in the modern day, General Mitchell’s tireless and dedicated effort to expand airpower thinking and increase public awareness of the need for this unique military instrument.

February 2009
AFA’s CyberPatriot Program hosts its first competition. CyberPatriot was conceived by AFA to inspire high school students to pursue careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future.  The program has since evolved into a comprehensive National Youth Cyber Education Program, reaching thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students annually.

November 2011
AFA establishes its Wounded Airman Program (WAP). The WAP was created to provide funds that go directly to helping seriously ill and injured airmen.

April 2014
AFA renames its headquarters building to the “James H. Doolittle Building” to honor General Jimmy Doolittle, co-founder and first President of the Air Force Association.

May 2014
First issue of Wingman Magazine is published. It is the companion to Air Force Magazine and covers topics about airmen, spouses and families, veterans, retirees, and high school and college cadets.

September 2014
AFA unveils and presents its newest award, the General John P. Jumper Award, which recognizes the most outstanding remotely piloted aircraft crew in the US Air Force.