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The Confederate Air Force, based in Midland at the Midland International Airport, was proclaimed the official air force of Texas by the 71st Legislature in 1989.
The organization was originally known as the Confederate Air Force. Following a membership vote in 2001 and made effective on January 1, 2002, the organization is now known as the Commemorative Air Force.
("Commemorative Air Force")
The origin of the Commemorative Air Force dates back to 1951, with the purchase of a surplus Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. A short while later, the group added a P-51 Mustang and then a pair of F8F Bearcats. At this point, the mission of the CAF became clear: save an example of every aircraft that flew during WWII ~ a mission no one else was undertaking.
The organization was originally known as the "Confederate Air Force." Following a membership vote in 2001 and made effective on
January 1, 2002, the organization is now known as the Commemorative Air Force.
In 1958, the group made their second purchase ~ two Grumman F8F Bearcats for $805 each. Along with the P-51, this gave the pilots the two most advanced piston-engine fighters to see service with the US Army Air Forces and the US Navy.
In 1960, the CAF began seriously to search for other World War II aircraft, but it became quickly apparent that few remained in flying condition. The CAF Colonels were shocked to find that the aircraft which played such a major role in winning World War II were being rapidly and systematically destroyed. No one, not even the Air Force or Navy were attempting to preserve even one of each type of these historic aircraft for display for future generations.
On September 6, 1961, the CAF was chartered as a nonprofit Texas corporation in order to restore and preserve World War II-era combat aircraft. By the end of the year, there were nine aircraft in the CAF fleet.
In 1965, the first museum building consisting of 26,000 square feet was completed at old Rebel Field, Mercedes, Texas. The CAF created a new Rebel Field at Harlingen, Texas, when they moved there in 1968, occupying three large buildings. The CAF fleet continued to grow and included medium and heavy bombers such as the B-29, B-25, B-17 and B-24.
Today, the Commemorative Air Force is comprised of over 11,000 members, several hundred of whom serve as pilots and flight or maintenance crew members committed to preserving World War II American aviation heritage. The CAF is responsible for operating a fleet of more than 140 airplanes known as the Ghost Squadron. The year 1991 marked the beginning of a new era for the CAF with the opening of the new Midland, Texas, headquarters and museum facilities.
The CAF is an all-volunteer organization, made up of members from all walks of life. Membership is open to all men and women, age 18 or older. You need not be a veteran nor a pilot to join the CAF. Privately funded and totally self-supporting, the nonprofit, tax-exempt group is dedicated to preserving the military aviation heritage of World War II.
The Commemorative Air Force is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)3 organization incorporated under Texas laws for charitable and educational purposes.
Commemorative Air Force
P.O. Box 62000
Midland, TX 79711-2000
Headquarters Phone Main Phone: (432) 563-1000
Main Fax: (432) 563-8046
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Closed major holidays.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 114, 71st Legislature, Regular Session (1989)
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The Confederate Air Force, based at Rebel Field, Harlingen, Texas, has for many years brought great honor and credit on the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, The Confederate Air Force was organized for patriotic, educational, and civic purposes, including that of acquiring, restoring, and preserving in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and other nations in World War II; and
WHEREAS, Among the other purposes of this great patriotic organization is that of perpetuating in the memory and hearts of all Americans the spirit in which such combat aircraft were flown in the defense of our nation; and
WHEREAS, This organization was first founded in the mid-50s by a group of ex-service pilots in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas when they bought a North American P-51 "Mustang" fighter; since that time the Confederate Air Force has been chartered as a nonprofit corporation by the state and has accumulated, restored to flying condition, and flown for the enjoyment of thousands of persons more than 50 aircraft from the World War II years; and
WHEREAS, The Confederate Air Force is a privately underwritten effort to preserve a little bit of America's history, an era of time which provided the greatest advancement in military aviation technology and an era in time when this nation was united in its effort to maintain freedom and establish peace in the world; and
WHEREAS, The men of the Confederate Air Force are truly Rebels, but only in the sense that they are rebelling against the destruction of the historic aircraft of World War II; and
WHEREAS, While the Confederate Air Force was originally begun and built into an outstanding educational and entertaining organization by men from the Lower Rio Grande Valley, its popularity has become national; due to the increased interest and participation, additional chapters have organized in such places as Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas; Hobbs, New Mexico; and Minneapolis, Minnesota; and
WHEREAS, It is the belief of the Texas Senate and the House of Representatives that the purposes and functions performed by the Confederate Air Force are commendable and are a fine example of the patriotism and support of the United States which all citizens of this great country should have; and
WHEREAS, The Confederate Air Force is an outstanding ambassador of good will and of the pride which all Texans have in our great nation; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, by the 71st Legislature of the State of Texas, That the Confederate Air Force be and is hereby declared to be the official air force of the State of Texas; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be forwarded to the headquarters as an expression of the appreciation and pride in the organization by the Texas Senate and House of Representatives.