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Aerospace industry, retired Air Force leaders gather to support museum expansion

Posted 10/9/2012   Updated 10/17/2012 Email story   Print story


by Lin Erickson
Air Force Museum Foundation

10/9/2012 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Higher, Higher!" These were the words attributed to Bishop Wright by a family friend on the occasion of his first airplane ride, piloted by his son Orville. This sentiment was echoed at a recent gathering of aerospace industry and retired Air Force leaders in the Ft. McNair, D.C. home of Army Lt. Gen. William Grisoli and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. E. Ann Harrell on Sept. 29.

The group of 60 was gathered in pursuit of a common goal -- to elevate the investment in a major expansion planned for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. This was the first regional gathering in a national fundraising campaign sponsored by the Air Force Museum Foundation. The Foundation is providing all funding for the new building with support from many generous donors. Executives from several of these key donors, including Lockheed Martin Corp., The Boeing Co. and Rolls-Royce North America, were present at Saturday's event. During the evening, another major aerospace company, Northrop Grumman Corp., helped push the fundraising total higher with their announcement of a $250,000 pledge to the campaign. Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Managers and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dick Reynolds thanked retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Timothy C. Jones, Northrop Grumman Vice President of Aviation and ISR, for his company's investment in the museum's future.

In his welcoming comments, Reynolds highlighted the historical collaboration between the Air Force and aerospace industry and plans to describe the many aerospace achievements that have resulted from this partnership in the fourth building. Aiming higher, the building will feature three new galleries showcasing the museum's growing commitment to STEM education. New high tech classrooms called STEM Learning Nodes will provide dedicated interactive spaces for learning. The recent arrival at the museum of NASA's first space shuttle crew compartment trainer (CCT) punctuated the potential of this new building to educate and inspire the next generation. The CCT will be the highlight of the proposed new Space Gallery in the planned expansion. In keeping with this theme, all three guest speakers -- Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Chief Technology Officer at Lockheed Martin Corp.; Gen. (Ret.) Thomas S. Moorman, former Vice Chief of Staff of USAF; and Col. (Ret.) Carl Walz, former NASA astronaut -- elaborated on the critical role of science and technology education for our nation's future and the role the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force can play in motivating young visitors to aim higher for careers in these fields.

To date, the Foundation has raised $39.7 million of the required $48.7 million to complete the project. Through regional gatherings such as the event at Ft. McNair, they hope to also raise awareness for this exceptional opportunity and, like the Bishop Wright, take it "higher, higher!"

The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. was established in 1960 as a philanthropic, non-profit organization to assist the Air Force in the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and to undertake and advance programs and activities supporting the museum. For more information on the Air Force Museum Foundation, visit

The National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the service's national institution for preserving and presenting the Air Force story. Each year, more than 1.2 million visitors come to the Museum to learn about the mission, history, and evolving capabilities of America's Air Force. For more information on the museum, visit

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