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Regional executives gather to support museum expansion

Posted 11/16/2012   Updated 11/21/2012 Email story   Print story


Air Force Museum Foundation

11/16/2012 - DAYTON, Ohio -- "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 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 13.

The group of more than 50 was gathered in pursuit of a common goal -- to elevate the interest in a major expansion planned for the museum. The dinner meeting of the Air Force Museum Foundation Board of Managers included invited guests from aerospace industry and was held in a loft area of the museum's Cold War Gallery, not far from the new space shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) exhibit, which was open and available for viewing at the event.

Museum Director Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson shared plans for the proposed fourth building on the museum's campus for which fundraising is currently underway. Noting that the museum is "a national treasure," Hudson cited its importance in the future of STEM education and to the region's economic growth. The CCT will be the highlight of the proposed new Space Gallery in the planned expansion.

Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Managers and retired USAF Lieutenant General Dick Reynolds highlighted the importance of preserving the Air Force legacy at a time when fewer than one percent of the country has served in the military. He noted that the museum is more than the centerpiece of the region's aviation heritage, but will also play a vital role in expanding the region's reputation as an aerospace hub. Dayton is the birthplace of aviation and the headquarters of a major Air Force command. The project to expand the museum uniquely ties together these elements critical to the region's future.

Guest speaker Col. (Ret.) Bill Harrell, and vice president for Air Force programs at Lockheed Martin Corp., 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. As a demonstration of their commitment to the Dayton region's aerospace leadership, Lockheed has pledged a $10 million gift to the expansion campaign.

To date, the Foundation has raised $40.2 million of the required $48.7 million to complete the project. Through regional gatherings such as Tuesday's event at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 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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