Commemorative Air Force

Commemorative Air Force The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through Flight, Exhibition, and Remembrance. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and honor.
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 12,000 members and a fleet of 162 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 63 units located in 25 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000.
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The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) was founded in 1957, a time when the U.S. military was scrapping the fleet of aircraft that had played a decisive part in winning World War II. With the rallying cry “Keep ‘Em Flying”, the initial goal of the CAF was to preserve, in flying condition, at least one example of each aircraft flown by the American Forces from 1939-45. Over the decades that followed, the CAF became the world’s largest owner and operator of vintage military aircraft. Today, the organization owns 162 historic planes valued at over $50 million, of which 144 are in airworthy condition. The airplanes are dispersed among 80 CAF units, located in 26 states. The CAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with annual revenues in excess of $24 million. Aided by a huge volunteer effort from more than 12,000 members, the CAF’s aircraft and educational programs reach millions of Americans each year. The CAF’s mission is “Education, such that generations of Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring our nation’s freedom.”

Mission: CAF Objectives 1. To acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and selected aircraft of other nations for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans. 2. To provide museum buildings for the permanent protection and display of these aircraft as a tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them. 3. To perpetuate in the memory and in the hearts of all Americans the spirit in which these great planes were flown in the defense of our nation. 4. To establish an organization having the dedication, enthusiasm and esprit de corps necessary to operate, maintain and preserve these aircraft as symbols of our American military aviation heritage.

It's definitely past our era of focus, but it's so ubiquitous, how could we not say happy birthday to the Hughes OH-6 Ca...
02/27/2020

It's definitely past our era of focus, but it's so ubiquitous, how could we not say happy birthday to the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, which made its first flight #OTDIH in 1963. The design is still in service today, and its distinctive shape is known the world over. Have you ever been in one?

For the ultimate blend of history and vacation, our tour of the Pacific for the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day will be unbea...
02/27/2020
2020 Pacific Theater Tour

For the ultimate blend of history and vacation, our tour of the Pacific for the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day will be unbeatable. Find out more at the link:

The Commemorative Air Force is proud to announce Tour to the Pacific, a travel tour in August and September 2020. Once again, the Commemorative Air Force has partnered with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours to offer a special tour to CAF members and suppor

It's time for your Wednesday Weekend Update and things are starting to pick up a bit as Spring approaches.  What shows o...
02/26/2020

It's time for your Wednesday Weekend Update and things are starting to pick up a bit as Spring approaches. What shows or events are you most looking forward to?

Mar 7 • Hangar Hang Out in Houston, TX
Mar 7 • Songs and Sounds of the War Years in Mesa, AZ
Mar 14 • Night in the 40s Big Band Dance in Mesa, AZ
Mar 18 • B-17 Season Kickoff Rides in Mesa, AZ
Mar 21 • AirPower History Tour Kicks Off 2020 Season in Fort Worth, TX

Kind of looks just a little bit like a Curtiss C-46 Commando, but that's a Boeing through and through.  It was #OTDIH in...
02/26/2020

Kind of looks just a little bit like a Curtiss C-46 Commando, but that's a Boeing through and through. It was #OTDIH in 1942 that the luxurious Boeing Stratoliners are stripped of their civilian finery and pressed into military service as C-75s. The first flights carry antitank ammunition and medical supplies to British forces in Libya.

Conversion to the C-75 included removal of the pressurization equipment to save weight, alteration of the forward cabin to provide space for crew requirements on extremely long flights and for the addition of five additional fuel tanks. The landing gear was strengthened, the maximum takeoff weight was increased from 45,000 to 56,000 lb, and the exterior was painted olive drab.

What's your favorite cargo transport of the era BESIDES the C-47? 😉

Do you know how many C-60s survive to this day?
02/26/2020

Do you know how many C-60s survive to this day?

It's always nice when you can get out in the sun and catch some rays, right?

📸Chris Walker

Read about some of the most unique units of WWII in this month's CAF Digital Dispatch at the link: https://bit.ly/2w7el7...
02/25/2020

Read about some of the most unique units of WWII in this month's CAF Digital Dispatch at the link: https://bit.ly/2w7el7K

This #TBMTuesday, how about this shot from the CAF Rocky Mountain Wing that really shows you the scale of just how big t...
02/25/2020

This #TBMTuesday, how about this shot from the CAF Rocky Mountain Wing that really shows you the scale of just how big the Avenger was! Was there a bigger US single-engine aircraft in WWII?

You don't really get a feel for the size of an Avenger until you see it in context. Can you think of any other single engine aircraft approaching this scale?

One ungainly bird made its first flight #OTDIH in 1941: the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant. The Gigant was a large German c...
02/25/2020

One ungainly bird made its first flight #OTDIH in 1941: the Messerschmitt Me 321 Gigant. The Gigant was a large German cargo glider intended to support large scale invasions, but it saw very limited use due to the low availability of suitable tug aircraft, high vulnerability to attack, and difficult ground handling. The design was later developed into the Me 323 which was fitted with six engines, but vulnerability to ground fire and aerial attack remained a constant problem. Did you know the Germans ever fielded such an enormous glider?

Happy birthday to the Hawker Typhoon.  It was #OTDIH in 1940 that the prototype Typhoon made its first flight. The Typho...
02/24/2020

Happy birthday to the Hawker Typhoon. It was #OTDIH in 1940 that the prototype Typhoon made its first flight. The Typhoon was a British single-seat fighter-bomber that was originally intended to be a medium to high altitude interceptor as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, but several design issues kept it from completely satisfying this requirement. Have you ever seen a Typhoon up close and personal?

02/24/2020
Commemorative Air Force Missouri Wing

Our units are making progress on their Winter Maintenance... you can hear it. 😉

#MaintainerMonday

The B-25 Mitchell starting up for the first time after the winter annual. We are getting close!!!

#b25mitchell #b25 #armyaviation #tbmavenger #torpedobomber #navalaviation #ww2 #ww2aviation #warbirds #warbird #ww2warbirds #planesofinstagram #roundengine #wrightcyclone #ww2history #warbirdsofinstagram #50cal Commemorative Air Force

It was #OTDIH in 1945, 75 years ago today, that AP Photographer, Joe Rosenthal snapped the iconic photograph "Raising th...
02/23/2020

It was #OTDIH in 1945, 75 years ago today, that AP Photographer, Joe Rosenthal snapped the iconic photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" of six United States Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo is one of the most significant and recognizable images of WWII.

This photo was actually the SECOND flag-raising atop the mountain that day. A smaller flag had been raised there in the morning when Suribachi was initially captured. This larger flag was raised in the afternoon by 5th Division Marines Sgt. Michael Strank, Cpl. Harlon Block, PFC Franklin Sousley, PFC Ira Hayes, PFC Harold Schultz, and PFC Harold Keller. Strank, Block, and Sousley were all killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Do you know which memorial was designed after the iconic photograph?

It sounds like this is the perfect type of post for a #SpotlightSaturday feature from our friends at the CAF Joe Foss Sq...
02/23/2020

It sounds like this is the perfect type of post for a #SpotlightSaturday feature from our friends at the CAF Joe Foss Squadron. Did you know the Marine Corps won an Oscar???

Did you know that the Marine Corps has won an Oscar? ⁠

In 1944, the Motion Picture Academy presented the Marine Corps this Oscar for its gritty documentary “With the Marines at Tarawa.” Graphic and shocking to American audiences, it was filmed by Marines of the 2d Photographic Division and released on the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.⁠

Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette pictured here is better known by its nickname the “Oscar.” This 6 ¼” tall statuette made of plaster and painted a gold/bronze color with a black base was awarded to the Marine Corps.

During World War II the Academy handed out plaster Oscars like this one in support of wartime restrictions to conserve metal. There are only a couple left in existence and we have one! ⁠

The Museum also has in its collection the metal Oscar trophy received after the war, meant to replace the plaster statuette.
The metal Oscar is currently on exhibit in the World War II gallery.⁠

IMAGE: Oscar presented to the Marine Corps in 1944 in the World War II Gallery⁠

#Oscars #history #USMCMuseum #military #Marines #USMC #SemperFi
National Museum of the Marine Corps

In the early days of flight, there wasn't a lot in the way of flying or navigation aids, just ask Bert Hinkler.  #OTDIH ...
02/22/2020

In the early days of flight, there wasn't a lot in the way of flying or navigation aids, just ask Bert Hinkler. #OTDIH in 1928, Hinkler landed in Australia in a Avro 581E Avian, having set a record for the trip from London by making it in only 15 days. 10,000 people came out to see him land, and he won a prize from the Australian Government of £2,000. But as impressive as the speed of the journey was at the time, here's the part that really blew our mind: he navigated the entire trip using nothing more than a London Times atlas! Can anyone in 2020 even read a map anymore? 😆

02/22/2020
The Sounds of the CAF

Have a look at our new PSA and let us know what you think! It stars 94-year-old WWII Veteran Karning Thomasian, an absolutely amazing man. Have you ever gotten a chance to meet him?

The Arsenal of Democracy Flyover will be an amazing undertaking... and an expensive one.  We need your help to supplemen...
02/21/2020
Commemorative Air Force Starts Preparing to attend Arsenal of Democracy 2020

The Arsenal of Democracy Flyover will be an amazing undertaking... and an expensive one. We need your help to supplement our funds to make the trip with a simple donation. Just check it out at the link.

Aircraft participating in the Arsenal of Democracy flyover will incur significant costs to prepare and travel to Washington D.C. Some of these costs will be covered by the event, but inevitably there will be additional expenses. As the largest World War I

#OTDIH in 1945, the Hawker Sea Fury first took to the air. The Sea Fury was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve w...
02/21/2020

#OTDIH in 1945, the Hawker Sea Fury first took to the air. The Sea Fury was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and one of the fastest production single reciprocating engine aircraft ever built. Developed during WWII, the Sea Fury entered service two years after the war ended. It proved to be a popular aircraft with a number of overseas militaries, and was used during the Korean War as well as against the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba. Are you familiar with the Sea Fury?

Plan your gifts for the greatest impact.  By including the CAF in your long-term plans, you have the power to help us ed...
02/21/2020

Plan your gifts for the greatest impact. By including the CAF in your long-term plans, you have the power to help us educate, inspire, and honor through flight well into the future. By doing so, you’ll make an even bigger impact on work than you may have thought possible and forever attach your legacy to something truly significant. Learn more about legacy gifts on our website at https://bit.ly/2SCdTXE

📸 Mark Naumann

Amazing discovery!  Do you dive?  Have you ever dived a wreck?
02/21/2020
CAF Rocky Mountain Wing

Amazing discovery! Do you dive? Have you ever dived a wreck?

We were just talking about Avengers participating in Operation Hailstorm on Monday, and look what one of our eagle-eyed fans found this week! And included in the discovery, a Dauntless and Avenger among the wrecks!

How about a #ThrowbackThursday to the first flight #OTDIH in 1939 of the least remembered of all the Douglas airliners: ...
02/20/2020

How about a #ThrowbackThursday to the first flight #OTDIH in 1939 of the least remembered of all the Douglas airliners: The DC-5.

The 16-to-22-seat, twin-engine propeller aircraft was intended for shorter routes than the Douglas DC-3 or Douglas DC-4, but was never a commercial success. By the time it entered commercial service in 1940, many airlines were canceling orders for aircraft. Consequently, only five civilian DC-5s were built.

With Douglas already converting to WWII military production, the DC-5 was soon overtaken by world events, although a few military variants were produced. The Army gave it the C-110 retroactive designation when it bought three former Indonesian-registered KNILM aircraft for service in Australia on behalf of the Allied Directorate of Air Transport in March 1942. The Navy ordered three variants of the R3D for a total of eight aircraft.

It's no wonder the DC-5 faded fast from our collective memory. Come to think of it, was there ever a DC-1 or DC-2?

Why didn't you tell us we missed your Wednesday Weekend Update?!  Let's make up for that right now with a THURSDAY weeke...
02/20/2020

Why didn't you tell us we missed your Wednesday Weekend Update?! Let's make up for that right now with a THURSDAY weekend update. 😆

Feb 19-23 • RISE ABOVE at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Feb 22 • Hot Stuff - The Magic 25 in Mesa, AZ
Feb 22 • Houston Wing 1940s Hangar Dance
Mar 7 • Songs and Sounds of the War Years in Mesa, AZ
Mar 7 • Hangar Hang Out in Houston, TX
Mar 14 • Night in the 40s Big Band Dance in Mesa, AZ
Mar 21 • Hangar Hang Out in Houston, TX
Mar 21 • AirPower History Tour Kicks Off 2020 Season in Fort Worth, TX

We're proud to be a part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover and one of the highlights of the AOD events will be the gal...
02/19/2020

We're proud to be a part of the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover and one of the highlights of the AOD events will be the gala! You won't want to miss this on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Click the original post for details, and get tickets at: https://bit.ly/2SEJnMW

The Arsenal of Democracy Victory Gala will take place in the historic Signature Aviation Hangar 7 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Tickets on sale now: https://ww2flyover.org/about-the-flyover/victory-gala/

The Gala will be a unique opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of World War II battles and experiences from World War II veterans who will be interviewed by award-winning broadcast journalist David Hartman. Panelists will include Tuskegee Airman BGEN Charles McGee, Colonel Bud Anderson, the highest-scoring living World War II Ace with 17 1⁄4 victories, and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Vaucher, who led more than 500 B-29 Superfortresses over Tokyo Bay, during the signing of the Japanese surrender. 📸Kevin Hong/Sector K Media, LLC

More Information:
https://ww2flyover.org/about-the-flyover/victory-gala/

Being on the same date as the Battle of Iwo Jima, the bombing of Darwin, Australia, three years earlier often gets overs...
02/19/2020

Being on the same date as the Battle of Iwo Jima, the bombing of Darwin, Australia, three years earlier often gets overshadowed historically, so let's remember it in this special bonus #OTDIH.

The “Pearl Harbor of Australia” was the largest attack ever mounted by a foreign power against Australia. Planned by the same mind behind Pearl Harbor, Mitsuo Fuchida, the attack included nearly 250 Japanese warplanes bombing the northern Australian city of Darwin.

The first wave of aircraft consisted of a combined force of 188 dive-bombers, light-bombers, and fighters launched from four Japanese aircraft carriers in the Timor Sea. The bombing began at around 10am and lasted some 30 minutes. About two hours later, another 54 land-based bombers attacked the RAAF Station aerodrome in a raid that lasted less than half an hour and served to finish off the destruction.

At least 252 people, including 39 civilians, had been killed with a further 300 to 400 wounded. Eleven ships were sunk and around 30 aircraft were destroyed, along with some of the civil and military facilities in Darwin. Echoing their success at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had struck with accuracy and suffered minimal losses.

An American destroyer was caught up in the attack as well, losing 88 of its crew. Do you know which destroyer this was?

Today is the 75th anniversary of one of WWII's most famous battles: The Battle of Iwo Jima began #OTDIH in 1945. The Ame...
02/19/2020

Today is the 75th anniversary of one of WWII's most famous battles: The Battle of Iwo Jima began #OTDIH in 1945. The American invasion of the South Pacific island, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the island and its three Japanese-controlled airfields in order to provide a base for staging attacks on the Japanese main islands.

The five-week battle saw some of the bloodiest fighting of WWII, with almost 7,000 Americans killed, and over 18,000 Japanese. Including injuries, Iwo Jima was the only USMC battle of the war where American casualties exceeded the Japanese.

In hindsight, given the enormous cost in men and equipment (including the loss of the Escort Carrier USS Bismark Sea), the strategic value of Iwo Jima and the necessity of the island's capture became controversial. The justification for the invasion had been that the island provided a landing and refueling site for long-range fighter escorts, but such escorts proved both impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima. The island was useless to the Army as a staging base and also to the Navy as a fleet base, though it did facilitate several emergency landings for B-29s.

Do you know any of the stories from Iwo Jima?

#OTDIH in 1944, Operation Jericho is undertaken by Allied aircraft on Amiens Prison in German-occupied France.  Have you...
02/18/2020

#OTDIH in 1944, Operation Jericho is undertaken by Allied aircraft on Amiens Prison in German-occupied France. Have you ever heard the story of the operation?

Nineteen Mosquito Mk.VI aircraft (six from No 487 (RNZAF) Squadron, six from No 464 (RAAF) Squadron, six from No 21 Squadron, and one from the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU)) breached the prison walls allowing captured members of the French Resistance to escape.

There were 700 prisoners detained at the time of the attack and of this number 102 were killed, 74 wounded, and 258 escaped. 182 were eventually recaptured.

Congratulations to CAF Colonel Pat Brown for being named Volunteer of the Year by the Camarillo Chamber!  The CAF simply...
02/18/2020

Congratulations to CAF Colonel Pat Brown for being named Volunteer of the Year by the Camarillo Chamber! The CAF simply doesn't work without volunteers, and we thank EVERYONE who so generously gives their time to help us Educate, Inspire and Honor!

CAF Col Pat Brown got a feature in the local paper - TheCamarilloAcorn.com
From her early days on a farm in Idaho, to her 39 years of volunteerism with CAFSoCal, the article is an interesting read too lengthy to post here. Check it out - it’s not often you can get a long story out of Pat!
Read article here: https://www.thecamarilloacorn.com/articles/passion-for-flight-keeps-camarillo-volunteers-spirits-soaring/

Here's the amazing #TrainerTuesday story of how the DFW Wing CAF discovered that their Stearman was more than met the ey...
02/18/2020

Here's the amazing #TrainerTuesday story of how the DFW Wing CAF discovered that their Stearman was more than met the eye, as told by our CAF RISE ABOVE WASP unit who tells you why!

Several years ago, our friends at the DFW Wing CAF began creating storyboards for their aircraft and in that process learned their PT-17 had been assigned to Avenger Field as a WASP training aircraft!

The Stearman was assigned to Sweetwater from 9 November 1943 until 12 August 1944. Though at the time of their discovery, the DFW aircraft (pictured) was wearing U.S. Navy colors, she had never been Navy. So when it was time for the aircraft to be restored, the Wing decided to return it to its WASP colors!

As they started thinking about the scheme, they wondered what markings she would have had. They looked at thousands of photos from WASP history, and most of the photos of Stearmans at Avenger show a "U" followed by a number on the fuselage, but they couldn't find their particular aircraft's serial number in any of the pictures. The photos are generally taken with a WASP standing at the wing root with the serial numbers too blurry to read.

Taking that as a license to pick a U number themselves, they thought of three possibilities: "38" for the number of WASP who died in service to our country, "44" for the year WASP were disbanded, or "43" for the year WAFS and WFTP were merged to form the WASP. Eventually, they opted for 43 because they did uncover a "U43" photo of a PT-17 at Avenger Field.

Restoring the plane has been a serious financial challenge as one wing needs to be replaced and other issues may still arise. The new wing alone will cost $11,500. If you would like to help with the project, you can make a donation at www.dfwwing.com.

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PO Box 764769, 5661 Mariner Dr
Dallas, TX
75237

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