AMERICAN FIGHTER ACES ASSOCIATION (AFAA)
The American Fighter Aces Association was founded in 1960 to recognize the 1450 combat pilots that received a special distinction of becoming an Ace by destroying 5 or more hostile aircraft in air to air combat. This includes Aces in both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.
©Nick Del Calzo, Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty
"The American Fighter Aces Association is an organization of select individuals who have distinguished themselves by their achievements in aerial combat which contributed to the security of this Nation during time of war. I can assure you its membership will inspire patriotism and set a high example for the youth of America."
- JOSEPH FOSS, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT, USMC
With that statement, the American Fighter Aces Association had their first gathering on 23 September, 1960 in San Francisco, California. General Thomas White, the Air Force Chief of Staff at that time, addressed this gathering with the following statement:
"As a young boy dreaming of becoming an airman – if I had a choice between becoming Chief of Staff of the Air Force or becoming a Fighter Ace, I would have chosen to become a Fighter Ace. The Fighter Ace organization could have a tremendous impact on the Country."
The American Fighter Aces Association has followed the statement of General Thomas since that time with their support of this Country and its citizens.
A vital role of AFAA, and its affiliate The Friends of the Fighter Aces, is to actively pursue the education of our youth in the values of patriotism, service and sacrifice, to foster respect for those currently serving, and to honor the legacies of our nation’s 1,450 Fighter Aces who served in various branches of the military service during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The AFAA Scholarship Program requires that each applicant write an essay on the role played by an Ace or Aces in the wars they fought in. There are four chapters of the Friends affiliates, all of whom are actively involved in youth values education.
Ace: Lt. Gen. Charles "Chick" Cleveland, USAF (Ret.) ('16)
Ace: Cmdr. Willis "Bill" Hardy, USN (Ret.) ('16)
Friends Vice President
Friend: Phil Schasker ('15)
Friend: Clifford Neve ('15)
Friend: Robert Walters ('16)
Col. J Ward Boyce, USAF (Ret.) ('15)
Ace: Col. Dean Caswell, USMC (Ret.) ('15)
Ace: Lt. Cdr. Fred Dungan, USN (Ret.) ('16)
Ace: Brig. General Frank Gailer, Jr., USAF (Ret.) ('15)
Ace: Cmdr. Dean "Diz" Laird, USN (Ret.) ('15)
Ace: Lt. Tillman "Tilly" Pool, USN (Ret.) ('16)
Ace: Lt. Cdr. Charles "Billy" Watts, USN (Ret.) ('15)
Friend: Dennis "Scott" Thomas ('16)
Friend: Dr. Gregg Wagner, PhD. ('15)
Friend: Dean Wolff ('15)
Public Programs/AFAA Coordinator
JD Wyneken, Ph.D
(Editor- American Fighter Aces Bulletin)